Friday, December 09, 2022

Elizabeth Maremma: “Much remains to be done for an agreement on biodiversity”

China Dialogue Oceans: How does the Conference on Biodiversity relate to the events at the United Nations Conference on the Oceans in Lisbon?

Elizabeth MaremmaThe ocean cannot work alone, especially when we are looking for solutions. Biodiversity is the basis of life. It is the source of food, air, water and carbon storage. You can see the connection. A post-2020 global biodiversity framework is being developed, which will also cover the implementation of Action on the Oceans, which cuts across most of the targets. It will also be a framework for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. One mistake many of us make is thinking that taking care of the oceans means only taking care of SDG 14 [Objetivo de Desarrollo Sostenible 14, sobre la vida bajo el agua], but it has to be achieved with respect to other goals. In itself, it will not be successful.

What has been agreed so far in Lisbon that will help move towards a stronger CBD outcome?

Within the framework of the CBD, an increase of up to 30% in marine protected areas is being debated [del océano mundial] by 2030. This is where outline comes in. but it is still [no finalizado] in the draft text. A little more work is needed to fully accept it, but more than 100 countries have already accepted the proposal.

Can you explain why COP15 has moved from China to Montreal and what does it mean?

Our COP was to be in China. Due to covid, we have postponed it four times. Now, we have reached the point where the meetings take place, but 2022 has been a difficult year for China in terms of COVID. Member states insisted that the COP should take place this year, but our hosts need more time to assess the situation. It was a difficult decision for China, as they have invested heavily in preparedness. He has spent two years preparing for COP; Canada is to prepare the COP in six months.

How does the calendar affect the plans, now that the CBD will COP after the UN climate talks in Egypt in November?

Initially we wanted our COP to be before the climate, but it was not possible. Egypt presided over CBD COP14 before China took over for COP15. Minister [Yasmine Fouad, ministra de Medio Ambiente de Egipto y enviada a la COP27], who was our President of COP14, now wants to include biodiversity in the COP discussion on climate. We will have a full day to make the connection between climate and biodiversity – a Biodiversity Day. This will give us a smooth transition from building relationships with the framework in Montreal to putting them into practice.

What are the current expectations of the Convention on Biodiversity?

Nairobi after the meeting [una reunión del grupo de trabajo celebrada en junio], we thought we would have a great lesson ready for the COP, as it was the last meeting. But we don’t have it yet. Progress is slow, much remains to be done and many brackets [que indican que el texto aún no está terminado] in the draft. But some progress has been made. Not all objectives were discussed in Geneva. In Nairobi, all objectives were discussed, including new ones. So progress was made in just one week.

Progress was also made on a controversial issue: information on the digital sequencing of genetic resources. Progress has been made on the roadmap to proceed. The parties will have to decide in December whether digital sequencing information will be part of or separate from the framework.

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What are sticking points?

There are other contentious issues on the table, particularly the means of implementation. A framework can be ambitious only if it has the resources to implement it. Countries want to make sure there will be resources. When it comes to resources, countries know that millions are spent on harmful subsidies. We can move that money and redirect it toward positive biodiversity grants and incentives. This will reduce the financial gap that we are looking at. He’s on the table.

The climate community has decided that the solution to climate change lies in nature and we recognize it: a large part of climate mitigation will come from biodiversity. But the biodiversity community does not necessarily agree with this. Our previous decisions and the COP have used a well-established ecosystem-based approach. The possibility of adopting nature-based solutions to biodiversity remains in parentheses, which are yet to be agreed upon. When looking at nature-based solutions, they are not all positive: we have to be careful, as some can be harmful to biodiversity. This is caution.

Will there be another meeting before the COP?

In Nairobi it was decided that there would be another meeting. Just three days before the COP, member states will meet again to give a clean copy to their ministers, hopefully. This will put pressure on us, because we will have to find resources for that meeting.

This interview was conducted at the most recent United Nations Oceans Conference, held in Lisbon from 27 June to 1 July, and was originally published china dialogue ocean, It has been edited a bit.

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