GENEVA ( Associated Press) – Environmentalists criticize slow progress at a UN-backed meeting of almost every country in the world to strengthen the protection of biodiversity on Earth, ahead of an important meeting expected in China later this year where delegates to a global can sign agreement.
A total of 195 countries – but not the United States – party to the Convention on Biological Diversity concluded a two-week meeting on Tuesday aimed at advancing an agreement to prevent the loss of biodiversity and to avoid the extinction of many vulnerable people. species. It also addresses the emergence of pathogens such as the coronavirus, which damage both lives and livelihoods.
Delegates agreed to hold an interim meeting in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, in June ahead of a high-level conference known as COP15 in Kunming, China, on a still undecided date later this year.
“Biodiversity ensures our own survival on this planet. This is not a joke, ”said Francis Ogwal of Uganda, co-chair of the meeting. “Every day you live as a human being is on biodiversity.”
Ogwal quoted the “close link” between biodiversity and climate change, saying “every time governments talk about climate change mobilization, they should do the same for biodiversity.”
Advocacy groups and some governments have ambitions for an agreement in Kunming that will aim to protect and conserve at least 30% of the world’s land, inland waters and oceans to help reduce habitat loss, the overexploitation of nature by humans and businesses, and the emergence of pathogens that thrive from environmental disruption.
Some signaled the weakening pace of progress.
“With so little time to Kunming, parties have finally kicked the gaze to the end of the road,” said Li Shuo, senior policy adviser to Greenpeace East Asia. As president of COP15, “China needs to work out a contingency plan to deliver a complex package of quality and ambition,” Li added.
The US-based Campaign for Nature pointed to an emerging consensus on the 30% target and a growing recognition that the lives and livelihoods of local communities and indigenous peoples need to be better protected. Yet it has demanded greater intensity from countries to find solutions to declining biodiversity.
“Unfortunately, the Geneva negotiations did not reflect the urgency needed to successfully address the crisis facing our natural world,” said Campaign for Nature Director Brian O’Donnell. “Progress in the negotiations has been painfully slow, and the level of ambition with funding remains woefully inadequate.”
He said donor countries should commit to “much more ambitious funding targets”.
A key issue was the redistribution and redirection of harmful subsidies, which amount to $ 500 billion a year and can damage biodiversity. A draft proposal for the China meeting aims to commit $ 700 billion for the maintenance or improvement of biodiversity.
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