Macron urges to 'go big' on talks as COP15 nears end; no targets set
The final draft is expected to include a large-scale restoration of nature, protecting 30% of land and sea, and tackling the factors of wildlife loss, such as pesticide use and harmful subsidies.
As the COP15 conference nears its end in Montreal, French President Emmanuel Macron urged countries to "go big" on talks - but no definite targets to stop biodiversity loss remain in sight.
In a tweet, Macron stated, “The most vulnerable countries are home to biodiversity treasures. We need to increase our funding to support them, with no expense spared! France will double its funding to 1 billion euros per year. COP 15 stakeholders: get on board and join the fight!”
With just a few days to go before the end of the COP 15 Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, my message to our partners is: now is not the time for small decisions, let's go big! Let's work together to achieve the most ambitious agreement possible. The world is depending on it.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 17, 2022
"Collaboration, compromise and consensus"
COP15 President, Huang Runqiu, announced that a final draft of the agreement known as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework is due to be released and published at 8 am Montreal time on Sunday. Later that day, a meeting with heads of delegations is due to take place after the World Cup final between France and Argentina.
“I feel quite exhausted because this meeting has been going on and on like a marathon, but we are going to see the finishing line soon,” Runqiu said, adding, “I hope everyone will come to a consensus which everyone will be able to accept.”
While a fund for the Earth’s biodiversity seemed to be the key divider between countries, Canada’s environment minister, Steven Guilbeault, said he was urging countries for “collaboration, compromise and consensus." He asserted his confidence in an agreement on the framework. “We have the power to change the course of history for the better,” he said. “Let’s give nature the Paris moment it deserves.”
A similar scenario took place at the COP27 in Egypt last month as countries were divided over forming a loss and damage fund for the conservation of key ecosystems.
Conversation groups expressed concern last Saturday as the conference shows no transparent mechanisms for implementing the targets, leading protesters to urge for more action.
The final draft is expected to include a large-scale restoration of nature, protecting 30% of land and sea, and tackling the factors of wildlife loss such as pesticide use and harmful subsidies.
However, countries from the global south, including Indonesia, Brazil, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, called for more funding that would better support the new conservation targets, which, in turn, must go hand in hand with the new biodiversity fund - separate from funds of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). As a result of the different views, the GEF walked out of talks on Wednesday.
EU commissioner for the environment, Virginijus Sinkevičius, initially eliminated the possibility of a new biodiversity fund but retracted on Friday and admitted he was open to proposals, on one condition: the donor group should expand in order to involve countries that have become increasingly wealthy in the last 30 years.
“We are the largest funder for biodiversity by far. Others who are earning billions out of the crisis in Europe, if they would at least match the amounts that member states have put in it could mean a major breakthrough,” he said. “It would be great that they [China and Brazil] would play some sort of role. We also have to be clear about the Arab countries. Some of them have really, really achieved completely economic different levels since the agreements were written.”
China, Brazil, India, Mexico, and Indonesia are the top five recipients from the GEF and are expected to be the top five recipients for the next $5.3 billion funding cycle from 2022 to 2026. Biodiverse countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America claim that they should receive more funding as well for conservation targets. In light of new fund ambitions, the minister for ecological transition, Christophe Béchu, called claims on Saturday that France has been blocking funding as “fake news”.
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“The position of France since January 2021 is to say biodiversity needs money and we have been the first country in the world doubling our commitments for biodiversity. Currently, the question is not about the principle [of creating a new fund] but about some mechanism. And we are not blocking any process,” he said.
Li Shuo, a policy adviser for Greenpeace China, said, “The package will only be unveiled tomorrow, but so far the presidency has followed a process that has kept everybody comfortable. They now need to come up with a package that drives ambition upward for both finance and conservation targets.”
On December 11, Shuo told AFP, "If biodiversity targets are the compass, implementation is the actual vessel to take us there." According to him, the negotiations are currently "missing critical elements" meant to mandate nations into increasing activity over time, as he describes the situation as "a bicycle without gears."