China announced, on Tuesday (12), the creation of a new fund to protect biodiversity in developing countries, endowed with 233 million dollars, on the occasion of COP15 on biodiversity.
“China will take the initiative to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Fund with a contribution of 1.5 billion yuan ($233 million) to support biodiversity conservation in developing countries,” announced Chinese President Xi Jinping, at COP15 held in Kunming, southwest China.
“China invites (…) all parties to contribute to the fund”, he added.
The Chinese president spoke at a virtual “high-level summit” with pre-recorded speeches by Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, Costa Rican Carlos Alvarado and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country will host COP16 on biodiversity.
Due to the covid-19 pandemic, COP15 was divided into two parts, one this month and a second that will physically bring together the delegations of the 196 members of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in April-May 2022, also in China, to seal the negotiations. An intermediate session will take place in Geneva in January.
These discussions concern the establishment of a new framework for the protection of nature, harmed by human activities, until 2050, with a stage in 2030.
“We are losing our suicidal war against nature,” warned UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
He warned that “the collapse of ecosystems could cost nearly three trillion dollars a year by 2030”, mainly impacting poor countries.
“COP15 is our chance for a ceasefire, with COP26 on climate,” which will be held in Glasgow in November, he added.
The issue of financing is one of the main points of conflict, with developing countries asking developed countries to pay for their transition.
The text under negotiation at COP15 foresees to reorient and eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies “of at least US$ 500 billion per year”, and “to increase financial resources, from all sources, to at least US$ 200 billion per year (…) increasing international financial flows to developing countries by at least $10 billion a year”.
For some countries, the Global Environment Facility (EGF) is the appropriate tool to finance actions in favor of biodiversity.
“All sources, especially those from existing funds such as the Global Environment Facility, but also climate funds, must therefore be mobilized to protect, sustainably manage and restore biodiversity,” defended French President Emmanuel Macron.
France has pledged to “dedicate 30% of its international climate finance to biodiversity”, recalled the head of state, urging other countries to do the same.
The announcement made by China “is a welcome first step”, commented Georgina Chandler of the Royal Society for the Protection of Bird, but the sum of 233 million dollars is “far from enough”.
In September, philanthropic organizations, including those of Jeff Bezos and Mike Bloomberg, pledged $5 billion to protect nature.
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