Focus turns to financing in final week of COP15 biodiversity conference

Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, addresses the opening of a Canadian-hosted cocktail reception welcoming delegates to the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) at the Palais des Congres in Montreal on December 10. ).Andrei Ivanov/AFP/Getty Images

As the world’s environment ministers gathered in Montreal on Tuesday for the final week of COP15, negotiators at the global conference to save the world’s biodiversity sharpened their focus on how to pay the price.

“Resource mobilization is the key factor here,” Federal Finance Minister Steven Guilbeault said through an interpreter.

The meeting’s attention has been focused on the ambitious goal of conserving 30 percent of the world’s land and waters by 2030. But that ambition will depend on the resources put in — technology and capabilities, as well as money.

Huang Runqiu, China’s environment minister and chairman of the conference, suggested that finance would be at the top of the agenda as the conference enters its second phase.

Staff from the environmental group Climate Action Network, which was involved in the talks, said no agreement would be reached unless sufficient resources were available.

Brazil and 69 other states have announced their intention to make international biodiversity financing conditional on adoption of the global biodiversity framework, they said in a briefing on Tuesday.

Eddy Perez, an expert on climate diplomacy at the Canadian Climate Action Network, said developing countries are not assured that the international community will be there to support their goals of implementing the biodiversity framework.

“What this means to me is that unless there is international support, there will be no deal,” he said in an interview. “And I think ministers need to be ready to make sure there’s a financial discussion.”

Developing countries are demanding immediate support from developed countries and, eventually, a separate global biodiversity fund, Perez said. More importantly, they want to leave Montreal feeling heard, he said.

Estimates of how much money will be needed vary widely.

Negotiators are currently working on a figure of $200 billion a year. But the text under discussion also includes another $500 billion that would be reallocated from public subsidies that are currently destroying biodiversity.

Most of the funding set aside for implementing the framework will flow from the developed North to countries in the global South, where the greatest biodiversity remains.

While many of these countries are ready to be ambitious, some are heavily indebted and lack access to global capital, Perez said.

“It’s about fixing those elements so that they understand that implementing this global biodiversity framework will benefit them and not be a burden,” he said.

Financial talks at the meeting, which only officially began on Tuesday, had generally progressed “slowly,” he said. However, he said the funding agreement would be renegotiated in 2025, opening the door to a so-called “fast start funding” agreement, while promising more support.

Gilboa acknowledged the need for private sector and philanthropic funding in order to raise the necessary funds for biodiversity.

“Obviously, we’re not getting enough money from the government to meet all the needs,” he said.

Shaughn McArthur, associate director of government relations at the nonprofit Nature United, said he believes private industry can be part of the solution. A growing number of companies are involved in initiatives such as mandatory reporting of nature-related impacts of business activities and are finding ways to meet their climate commitments, he said.

“I was talking to TD Bank representatives this morning. We’ve seen major Canadian agricultural representatives here. One of our partners is Royal Bank,” he said.

“All of these companies obviously have problems, but they’ve made a commitment to net zero emissions. They know that to get there, they can do it in a way that’s good for nature and the climate under the right favorable conditions. .”

What they were looking for, he said, were “enabling policy and financial mechanisms” that would help them invest.

But it’s not just dollar figures that are being discussed.

Delegates also have to agree on what the money will be used for, how it will be deposited, and even which financial institution will handle the transfer.

The conference will run until December 19th.

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