Canada has said it was ramping up its international biodiversity funding, an overture to developing countries during difficult UN talks aimed at sealing a “peace pact with nature.”
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced on Friday an increase of $186 million in the aid it will send to lower-income countries to help them protect their ecosystems, bringing the total figure to over a $1 billion annually.
It comes as the world’s environment ministers have converged on Montreal for the final phase of the summit, called COP15.
The talks’ success hinges on an agreement regarding the mobilisation of funds to help developing countries meet the draft agreement’s more than 20 targets, including protecting 30 percent of lands and oceans by 2030.
Brazil — one of the most prominent voices at the summit — is seeking at least $100 billion from the Global North, a demand shared by India, Indonesia and African countries.
That is about ten times more than current flows and about as much as has been pledged for adaptation against climate crisis (though not delivered).
When the ministers arrived on Thursday, a dozen developed countries touted new or recently increased commitments to biodiversity funding in a move welcomed by observers and nonprofits.
The ambition remains to seal an agreement for biodiversity as historic as the Paris accord for the climate was in 2015.
At stake is the future of the planet and whether humanity can roll back habitat destruction, pollution and the climate crisis, which are threatening an estimated million plant and animal species with extinction.
Beyond the moral implications, there is the question of self-interest: $44 trillion of economic value generation — more than half the world’s total GDP — is dependent on nature and its services.