the preparatory negotiations remain in Kenya

Negotiations could not be more difficult between the 195 states gathered for six days in Nairobi under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Due to Covid, COP15 2020 planned for China had been canceled. Since then, the countries have met in March in Geneva, since Tuesday in Kenya to prepare for COP15, which was held this time in December in Canada. We expect an ambitious agreement to best protect nature and its resources by 2050.

This is the fourth meeting to prepare a global framework aimed at better protecting nature and its resources by 2050. The first targets for 2030, to protect 30% of land and sea. The text should serve as the basis for the next COP on biodiversity to be held in December in Montreal. More than 40,000 animal and plant species are threatened with extinction under the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Negotiations ended on Sunday evening.

NGOsEt’s disappointment Despite six days of tough negotiations, progress still appears to be minimal. Brian O’Donnell, head of Campaign for Nature, told AFP that “most of the time was spent on technical quarrels, leaving major decisions unresolved.” The negotiators worked hard for six days to try to make progress with the draft text. . But many observers point to the remaining work. – For us, it is a disappointment. Progress is very limited. Overall, the text is not at all ready to be adopted, already in its form and even less in its content because it is not at all ambitious at this stage “, regrets Arnaud Gilles, responsible for environmental diplomacy at the World Fund. for Nature (WWF France).

We have this urgency linked to the collapse of biodiversity at full speed. In our Living Planet report 2020, we showed that the population of vertebrates decreased by 68% between 1970 and 2016. So the urgency is there. This week of negotiations had begun with an impulse we had not known for a long time, as the dates for COP15, which would mean the adoption of this global biodiversity agreement, had been confirmed by the end of 2022 in Montreal. We could hope in this regard that things would pick up speed a bit in Nairobi. It must be said today, after six days of negotiations, that this is not really the case and that the negotiations have rather stalled, despite the hopes of all delegations on the ground and the time devoted to each article in the text. A major problem is the issue of financing biodiversity, which crystallizes a lot of tension. And which, above all, presupposes, in the consciousness of some states, progress in other very concrete subjects such as the restoration of ecosystems, the conservation of ecosystems.

Arnaud Gilles: “The issue of financing biodiversity crystallizes a lot of tension”

Many parts of the text are still subject to disagreement. While Nairobi was intended to bring the views closer and clean the document, the delegations introduced new elements. A gap between north and south has also arisen between the countries, some topics are particularly debated, such as agriculture. States oppose the reduction of pesticides, overuse of fertilizers, the need to produce more, etc.

Another source of tension: the economy. Several countries, including Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Cameroon or Egypt, have renewed a call for rich countries to give $ 100 billion a year by 2030 to developing countries to preserve biodiversity.

“Changing your mindset” Experts also point to dysfunctions: China not playing the facilitators enough, Brazil and Argentina accused of defending the agro-industry too much, the rich countries refusing to put their hand in their pocket or even the structural weakness of the summit with delegates from the Ministries of the Environment at the same time as the subjects also concern agriculture, finance, industry etc.

Basile Van Havre, co-chair of the negotiations, nevertheless defends some progress in drafting the proposals: “In terms of concrete results, we have two goals that are final, in full text. It is not huge. On the other hand, one must realize that great things have been done. “Progress for all other goals. Of course, we are far from finished and we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we have done a lot of clearing work. So we are happy.”

On Friday, Francis Ogwal, another co-president, had put the press in charge of “really changing the state of mind” in these negotiations because “at the current rate, there will be no text for COP15”.

The participants planned to meet for a final negotiation session, just before COP15 in December. More informal sessions will take place in the meantime, in smaller groups. To try to get to Montreal with as few differences as possible.

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