Montreal conference has given developing nations a raw deal

Developed nations have been importing biodiversity loss through their consumption patterns responsible for 50 per cent of biodiversity loss in developing countries. [iStockphoto]

World leaders from over 180 countries have been meeting (from December 7 to 19, 2022) in Montreal, Canada, for the CoP15 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Leaders are agreed that biodiversity is fundamental to human well-being and a healthy planet, and to economic prosperity for all people.

These leaders are developing a global biodiversity framework that seeks to respond to the Global Assessment Report of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services issued by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

This report says 25 per cent of animal and plant groups are threatened, suggesting that around one million species already face extinction. Without urgent action, there will be a further acceleration in the global rate of species extinction, which is already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years.

The biodiversity framework contains targets to save species and protect their habitats, including increasing areas of land and sea that are under approaches that safeguard biodiversity.

However, the perennial problem facing conservation has been insufficient money. In particular, developing countries and indigenous communities are faced with serious lack of financial resources. For example, the Kenya government has been unable to compensate for loss due to wildlife damage on livestock, crops and human life.

Global analyses available to the world leaders in Montreal point to a huge financing global gap of US$700 billion annually.

Target 18 of the Global Biodiversity Framework draft released by the CoP president says that if human support systems become sustainable through the removal of harmful subsidies, the need for money will reduce by US$ 500 billion annually.

This means that the world leaders in Montreal must raise the balance of US$ 200 billion annually contained in Target 19. This is where the lack of ambition for implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework is put into test.

Developed nations have been importing biodiversity loss through their consumption patterns responsible for 50 per cent of biodiversity loss in developing countries. That is why developing countries are requesting for US$ 100 billion which is 50 per cent of the US$ 200 billion gap.

To achieve this, Kenya speaking for Africa, requested for a dedicated Global Biodiversity Fund that is complementary to the Global Environment Facility, the traditional funding mechanism for the Convention.

Negotiators have failed to agree. The CoP president has escalated the negotiations to Ministers level. On December 18, 2022, the CoP president produced a compromise text where the developing countries will only take home the work to save the planet, without the means to achieve the ambition.

Dr Matiku is the Executive Director, Nature Kenya - the East Africa Natural History Society

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