India has taken the lead to help find a way out of the logjam on biodiversity funding talks, which are still in a state of flux less than six hours before the Convention on Biological Diversity is scheduled to end. While countries have set ambitious goals to protect the world's plants, animals and natural habitats — called the Aichi Targets — they have not yet agreed on how to raise the money needed to reach these goals.
After a night of burning the midnight oil and repeating entrenched positions by both rich and poor nations, India produced a negotiating text — as the President of this summit — which tries to find a middle path. A senior Indian official said all developing countries — part of the grouping of G-77 and China — are "rallying" around the Indian text.
It proposes a doubling of biodiversity aid from rich to poor nations by 2015, using the average funding between 2006 and 2010 as an interim baseline. However, this is only an interim target; the document proposes that targets are revised at the subsequent CBD summits scheduled to take place every two years till 2020.
This would mean a continuous rise in funding till 2020, that developed nations are known to object to. A senior European Union delegate said that it would be willing to double aid by 2015, provided that funding rates are then frozen till the end of the decade. "Given the current financial situation at home, we simply cannot promise more," he said.
The presidency document proposes that in return, poor countries will promise that by 2015, at least three-fourths of them will do their homework, by including biodiversity in their national development priorities, assessing their own biodiversity expenditures and needs, and preparing national financial plans for biodiversity.
With regards to accountability, and reporting of how this money is used, a preliminary, flexible framework has been drafted, and countries will agree to submit information using this by the next CBD meeting in 2014.
In a concession to rich governments harried by the current economic downturn, the document "urges parties to consider all possible sources and means" to meet the needed level of resources, which could mean that private sector funding can be used rather than governmental aid.
The document also proposes that by 2014, countries will establish a target on the phasing out of subsidies and incentives which harm biodiversity.
While informal negotiations and bilateral talks are going on, delegates are expected to meet and formally discuss this text later this evening.