COP15: Countries must overcome ‘trust deficit,’ UN official says at biodiversity talks

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The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations says the ongoing tension around public financing to save nature stem from a “trust deficit” because wealthier countries have failed to fulfil their financing promises to developing nations in the past.

Amina Mohammed joined the COP15 nature talks in Montreal this week as negotiations went their way toward Monday’s finish line with no certainty yet that a new biodiversity agreement will be reached.

The pinnacle target to protect 30 per cent of land and marine area by 2030 has yet to be agreed to, with some developing nations and Indigenous communities saying they fear they will be forced from lands that they have already been conserving for decades.

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But the fight between wealthier nations and developing countries about funding the estimated US$700 billion annual price tag to conserve nature may be the harder chasm to close.

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Mohammed says that over the past few years, a sense of mistrust has arisen as wealthy countries’ financial promises, on climate action and adaptation in particular, have fallen short.

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She says every country has to do everything it can to overcome that “trust deficit” because allowing nature to be destroyed at current rates will lead to the downfall of humanity.

“The ambitions for biodiversity are about all of us,” Mohammed said. “They are commitments that we all need to take because it affects us as humanity. If we don’t take care of our biodiversity, there will be no us.”

The summit in Montreal is the 15th meeting of the parties to the UN biodiversity convention and is intended to be the final meeting to agree to a new global biodiversity framework that seeks to end the destruction of ecosystems and wild species and begin to restore them.

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The last framework, negotiated in 2010, failed in large part because of a lack of financing and accountability, with few measurable targets to monitor progress.

The Montreal talks began Dec. 6 and are supposed to end Monday.

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