Insufficient progress in Geneva before COP15 in China

The two-week negotiations in Geneva on a global biodiversity framework for 2030, then 2050, were not enough to reach a compromise at COP15 in Kunming, China. A new meeting will take place from 21 to 26 June in Nairobi.

Representatives of 196 parties “held intense discussions” after two years of interruption of face-to-face meetings due to the pandemic, said the executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Elizabeth Maruma Mrema. “There’s still a lot to do,” she admits.

“The world will accept nothing but a meaningful and game-changing global framework,” she adds. Based on an approach from the co-chairmen to the discussions, the text is now, according to them, of all parties.

“The negotiations in Geneva have resulted in significant progress,” Ambassador Franz Perrez, head of the Swiss delegation and international affairs at the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), told Keystone-ATS. He also noted that the text being discussed will set the tone for the work that will continue. But progress is “insufficient”, he adds, calling for greater efforts to find solutions.

COP, which is due to take place at the end of next summer, although the date has not yet been officially announced. NGOs are disappointed after the Geneva meeting.

Brazil and rich countries targeted

“Unfortunately, we have to abandon a ‘made in Switzerland’ global biodiversity framework,” Pro Natura Head of Biodiversity Policy Friedrich Wulf told Keystone-ATS. But, he said, the lack of consensus was evident from the first week.

He still believes that a significant agreement in Kunming is still possible, provided major issues are resolved. Among them are funding, government intervention in the economy, or even access to indications about the digital sequencing of organisms that divide.

And the leader of Pro Natura also criticizes in particular Brazil’s position, which “must stop blocking everything that limits it more and opposes the exploitation of its resources”. He is also attacking the rich countries, which he says should make concessions on funding and digital sequencing.

On the other hand, Mr Wulf maintains agreement on the importance of conserving territories and species, in particular by stopping the loss of biodiversity and even restoring 20% ​​of degraded ecosystems. In total, dozens of countries want to protect at least a third of land and sea by 2030 globally. This objective is repeated in the negotiated text. “A minimum,” according to Greenpeace. Even though Pro Natura is asking for more will from the rich states.

For WWF, an agreement on a framework in China should be a step similar to the efforts against global warming. “There is a convergence about the missions and the goals,” says one leader. “But more ambition is needed,” he said, quoting the urgency of the situation.

Divergence on follow-ups

In Geneva, discussions made little progress on financial issues. Recommendations on resources and a mechanism have been launched, but this will require further efforts.

At least $ 700 billion a year is needed to achieve the aid targets, according to a number of actors, far more than the $ 160 billion currently being spent. “There are going to be discussions,” one of the chairmen admitted. We must also try to divert hundreds of billions of dollars into harmful subsidies.

Among the various participating states, the rich countries insist on this issue, while in the developing countries they rather ask for more public funding to meet the objectives. The money must come from several components, Maruma Mrema told the press.

Another problem is that there is still no consensus on an application and monitoring mechanism, especially if it involves an assessment of each country. “Progress has been very slow” in recent weeks, according to WWF.

The menu was “complex” and “dense” after a two-year hiatus, the NGO adds. No less than three entities within the framework of the CBD met for two weeks in Geneva and multiplied the discussions.


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