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COP15 biodiversity agreement: “States will not have the right to go back”

It is an agreement described as “historic”. On the occasion of COP15, countries around the world adopted this Monday, December 19 an agreement in Montreal to try to stop the destruction of biodiversity and its resources, essential to humanity. After four years of difficult negotiations, ten days and a night of diplomatic marathon, more than 190 States reached an agreement under the aegis of China, which chaired the summit.

This “peace with nature pact”, called the “Kunming-Montreal Agreement”, aims to protect land, oceans and species from pollution, degradation and the climate crisis. The countries have agreed on a roadmap aiming in particular to protect 30% of the planet by 2030 and to increase the annual aid for biodiversity in developing countries to 30 billion dollars. In an interview with L’Express, Rémy Rioux, Director General of the French Development Agency (AFD), discusses this agreement and details the action of the public institution in terms of biodiversity protection.

L’Express: What role did AFD play in the discussions at COP15 in Montreal?

Remy Rioux: We have been supporting these negotiations for several years. One of our collaborators reinforced the secretariat of the convention on the finance part. For my part, I went to Montreal as president of the IDFC, a club bringing together 27 public development banks from around the world who have committed to investing 100 billion dollars for nature by 2027. AFD works to bring together and mobilize all public banks: there are currently 520 united within the Finance in Common (FiCS) initiative. They will be the armed wing of the States to implement the ‘Kunming-Montreal’ agreement.

Adopted text endorses goal for rich countries to provide at least $20 billion a year by 2025, then $30 billion a year by 2030, double and then triple current international aid for biodiversity. On the occasion of the One Planet Summit organized in January 2021, AFD had already made this commitment to double its financing dedicated to biodiversity, from 500 million in 2021 to one billion in 2025. We have finished the year 2022 700 million, so we’re on the right track. In addition, 30% of our climate projects now have a positive component for nature.

Is the agreement adopted in Montreal in an attempt to halt the destruction of biodiversity and its resources, in your opinion, “historic” as many personalities have called it?

Kudos to the negotiators! The Montreal agreement is very historic, as was the Paris climate agreement in 2015. The ambition and mechanics of these agreements are also very comparable. States will not have the right to go back, and will have to go ever further in their biodiversity policies, depending on the scientific assessment of the situation.

The Montreal accord is the framework that the actors needed. And its implementation begins today. One of the next important meetings will be the major international summit organized in Paris in June 2023 at the invitation of the President of the Republic for a new international pact for sustainable finance, with particular attention to the most vulnerable countries.

Have the financial players sufficiently integrated nature and climate protection into their commitments?

In Montreal, an entire day was devoted to financial issues, the Finance and Biodiversity Day. It was the first time during a biodiversity COP. I insisted on the urgency of financing many more projects for nature in the countries of the South. But I also pleaded so that, as for the climate, all the actors of the financial systems integrate in their decisions the protection of biodiversity, in the North as in the South. We must both “invest green” and “green all finance”, as provided for in the adopted agreement.

At AFD, we are contributing to these two objectives so that finance and biodiversity players, who are still too far apart, have a positive dialogue. Along with the other public development banks, we want to be a bridge between these two worlds.

Source : BBN NEWS

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