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Biodiversity Conference Ends With 'False Solutions,' says Friends of the Earth

Crunch time to make decisions but developed countries wrangle over financial commitments

- Common Dreams staff

As the United Nations biodiversity conference winds down to its final hours in Hyderabad, India on Friday, an environmental group warns of "false solutions" that favor corporate polluters, while lack of financial commitments by developed countries may put biodiversity goals at risk.

(UN photo/John Isaac) Agence France-Presse reports that the meeting, formally known as the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 11) "is meant to come up with tangible ways to execute what have become known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets," biodiversity targets set at the previous convention meeting, COP 10, in Nagoya, Japan.

But the conference is ending with wrangling by developed countries over the funding needed to meet those targets, Inter Press Service reports:

Resource mobilization has been the most contentious area of negotiations at Hyderabad. Developing countries, home to rich biological diversity, are now doubtful that the promise of increasing financial resource flows from developed to developing countries by 2015 will materialize.

Developed countries are firm that a baseline is necessary to determine the sum that is already being spent and that needs to be increased. But developing countries are pushing for commitments on interim figures.

Experts say funding from diverse international and national sources, and across different policy areas, is required to secure the full range of economic and social benefits to be gained from meeting the Aichi targets.  

Public funding and private sector investment (still under debate), innovative measures, incentives such as payments for ecosystem services, conservation agreements including with local communities, water fees, forest carbon offsets, and green fiscal policies are among possible sources.

At the same time, environmental group Friends of the Earth International warns against any "false solutions to biodiversity loss" led by corporate influences at the conference that treat nature as a commodity.

Financialization "is a way for corporate polluters to continue destroying biodiversity and threatening indigenous peoples and local communities.  If UN talks start favoring the financialization of nature, community and Indigenous peoples' rights will be violated, leading to mass land grabs,” stated Isaac Rojas, Friends of the Earth International Coordinator of the Forests and Biodiversity Program.

“The corporate influence on UN talks is extremely worrying. Multinational corporations lobby in favor of approaches which have negative impacts on communities and Indigenous Peoples and do not protect forests and biodiversity. These are false solutions. Instead, we need ways to properly protect traditional knowledge and ownership. For instance we need more community-based forest governance, which is an effective way for local people to help protect their forests as well as the climate,"  stated Rojas.

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