Strikes and tensions as finance squabble threatens to derail COP15 talks |  policeman15

Strikes and tensions as finance squabble threatens to derail COP15 talks | policeman15

Strikes and tensions as finance squabble threatens to derail COP15 talks |  policeman15

Divisions between developed and developing nations over who should pay to protect Earth’s ecosystems are threatening to derail a UN biodiversity summit after a group of developing countries walked out of discussions during the night.

In the wake of last month’s Cop27 climate summit in Egypt – where countries agreed to create a new fund to compensate for the losses and damages caused by global warming in vulnerable nations – countries in the global south left the Cop15 talks on Wednesday to cause of disagreements on finance.

COP15 host China was on Wednesday arranging crisis talks with heads of delegations to try to resolve the issue as strikes continued over whether rich countries, such as China and Brazil, should receive more aid for the biodiversity.

“Nothing moves until finance moves,” said an observer close to the talks.

Some countries in the global south want the creation of a new biodiversity fund as part of the final deal in Canada, along with more funding from wealthier nations. But wealthy donor countries in Europe and the global north oppose the creation of a new fund. They say China, Brazil and other major economies, which have grown substantially in the past 30 years since UN environmental treaties were agreed, should contribute much more.

UN donor funding for biodiversity is currently targeting key regions to protect vital ecosystems and halt ongoing damage. China, Brazil, India, Mexico and Indonesia are the top five incumbent beneficiaries of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and are among the top five for the next $5.3bn (£4.3bn) funding round from 2022 to 2026. Many biodiversity-rich nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America argue they should get more money to pay for conservation.

“Developing nations are really upset. The talks have reached a crisis point. Developed countries need to provide more money,” said a negotiator who participated in the strike.

Another source said: “The talks were making slow but steady progress through a strategy for mobilizing resources. We were discussing the more controversial issue of setting up a new specific international biodiversity fund. It was already late and the real deal of the night was already over. But the strike sends a clear message that we must work harder to listen to each other’s realistic red lines and try to compromise.

“Brazil and China are the largest recipients of GEF funding. Donor countries find it difficult to digest that so much of our foreign aid goes to them. So, there is talk of broadening the donor base, i.e. adding parties like Brazil and China to the list of donors rather than the list of beneficiaries.

“There is no doubt that Brazilians are enjoying the journey, making it more difficult to work collaboratively and perhaps even actively trying to bring it all down. The Brazilian argument for a new fund is motivated in part by the drive to ensure they design a new system and never have to pay.”

Oscar Soria, campaign director of activism organization Avaaz, which is in Montreal for talks, said the strike showed developing countries are tired of rich nations’ behavior on biodiversity finance.

“Without money, this will turn into a weak business and Montreal will be the next Copenhagen. Developing countries left the meeting because they believed it was impossible to make progress in the discussions because developed countries were not ready to compromise, and called on parties blocking the discussions to reflect on their positions to move forward in a other point.

“After weeks of acting as if discussions could go on without properly addressing the issue of financial resources, now the parties have finally stopped pretending. The game is finally on,” she said.

Find more information on the age of extinction here and follow biodiversity journalists Phoebe Weston And Patrick Greenfield on Twitter for all the latest news and features

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