UN Talks on Protecting Biodiversity are Moving Slowly

Published on: 26 June 2022
by KnowESG

Organisers told delegates in Nairobi that they need to "pick up the pace" because they only have a few days to work out a UN proposal to protect global biodiversity.

"We cannot afford to spend hours discussing one line of text," Basile van Havre, one of the two co-chairs of the talks, told Reuters.

The talks are set to end today, and the draft agreement will be signed by governments at COP15, a major summit on biodiversity in December.

But "at the current pace as we've seen, it will not be possible to have text [ready] for COP15," said co-chair Francis Ogwal during a plenary on Friday.

Delegates met in Geneva before COP15 to finish drafting the "post-2020 global biodiversity framework," but they did not finish the text in time for it to be approved.

Instead, they made plans to meet again in Kenya, but the talks in Nairobi now look like they will fail just like the ones in the past.

Progress is "very slow and not significant," said Ogwal, emphasising a need for compromise on the details of 21 biodiversity protection targets. These range from countries conserving 30% of their territory to slashing harmful agricultural subsidies.

Animals and plants are going extinct at a rate that hasn't been seen in the last 10 million years. Scientists say we are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction event, which is caused by people eating too much.

"For some parties, it seems to be intentional delay tactics," said Brian O’Donnell, director of conservation non-profit Campaign for Nature, "others are making concerted efforts to try to improve the text. However, when you have more than 190 countries each trying to use their wording, it becomes incredibly cumbersome."

Brazil was accused of intentionally blocking negotiations on reforming food systems, by "introducing last-minute proposals and watering down ambition," said Marco Lambertini, director-general of World Wildlife Fund International.

Talks have also been stopped by delegations that want to add up to four new goals, one of which is about biodiversity and health.

"It is not the time for adding new goals," a representative from China, which holds the COP presidency, said at the plenary.

Source: Reuters

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