As the penultimate day of discussions in Geneva approaches, a worldwide accord to reverse the loss of nature and prevent extinctions is edging closer.
In preparation for a high-level conference in China later this year, international negotiators are working on the language of a UN framework to protect the environment.
Observers have criticised the discussions’ “snail’s pace” and are calling for a boost in objectives.
There are still disagreements, especially on how to fund the initiatives.
“The data is obvious; we don’t have any more time to spare; we need to act immediately,” Bernadette Fischler Hooper, WWF-head UK’s of international campaigning, told news outlets.
“Not only in terms of biodiversity loss, but also in terms of climate change, which is a closely related concern. So that’s what’s at risk here; it’s the planet’s and its people’s futures.”
By the Cop15 conference in Kunming, China, the final text of the draft UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be discussed. The Cop15 summit is planned to take place at the end of August.
The outcome will determine how the world approaches the challenges of reducing the extinction risk that threatens over one million species, protecting 30% of land and sea, eliminating billions of dollars in environmentally damaging government subsidies, and restoring degraded ecosystems in the coming decades.
Over the last two weeks, talks in Geneva have focused on moving the tentative deal forward.
Observers slammed what they called a “glacial” rate of development in the first week, but movement has picked up in the last days, despite “thorny obstacles” such as plan financing.
The draft text sets a goal of increasing finance to at least $200 billion per year by 2030, with developed-to-developing-country funding increasing by at least $10 billion each year.
“At this summit, resource mobilization has become a contentious problem,” Ghanaian researcher Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, who has played a significant role in worldwide efforts to safeguard biodiversity, told AFP.
The goal for subsidies is to “redirect, reallocate, modify, or eliminate detrimental incentives for biodiversity” on a scale of at least $500 billion per year.
The new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBD) is being compared to the Paris Climate Agreement in terms of biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms on Earth and how they interact in a complex web of life that provides us with food, clean air, and clean water.
One of the main goals is to have 30 percent of the Earth’s land and waters protected by 2030. In order to fulfill biodiversity and climate targets, a recent UN climate study emphasized the significance of saving at least 30% of the world.
Another objective is to have a “common vision of living in harmony with environment” by the year 2050.
At the opening of the discussions, the convention’s executive secretary, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, told reporters, “We have this one aim, which is to bend the curve on biodiversity loss and truly to construct that shared future to live in peace with nature in the long term.”
Scientists have given several warnings about the hazards to environment posed by human activity, such as the logging of forests and the conversion of natural land to agriculture.
A major 2019 report warned that nature was vanishing at unprecedented rates in human history, with up to one million species on the verge of extinction.
Due to many delays caused by the Covid epidemic, the Cop15 conference in Kunming is anticipated to take place over two years later than intended.
This has left the world without benchmarks for reducing extinctions and reversing global environmental degradation over the next decade.