World leaders should not allow the World Cup in Qatar to disrupt the ecumenical conference simultaneously, or face the consequences, warns a U.N. official on biodiversity.
This December, delegates will travel to Montreal, Canada, for a U.N. conference on biodiversity, known as Cop15, to discuss a new set of global environmental goals for the next ten years after two years of delay and a final agreement to be reached. the semi-finals of the World Cup on December 18.
Presidents and prime ministers often travel to the World Cup. Still, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, secretary-general of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, has urged world leaders to stay focused on environmental dialogue, with ecological organizations warning of a crisis in government.
Cop15 will launch just two weeks after the end of Cop27-focused climate change in Egypt, where countries are expected to announce firm commitments to reduce global warming to 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels. The discussions in Sharm el-Sheikh may have had a profound effect on the vision of the biodiversity conference.
“All leaders will have to think twice [about the conflict between Cop15 and the World Cup]. You can go to the World Cup but what does it mean if there is no better life when you come back?” Said Mrema.
“If they are going to Qatar, they must leave the proper instructions behind,” he added. “Otherwise they will be disappointed.”
Climate dialogue and biodiversity have seen significant differences between the northern and south hemispheres. During two weeks of negotiations in Nairobi last month, countries struggled to progress on the final draft. There were disagreements over funding for the proposed framework, implementation of the agreement, and “biopiracy.”
Speaking to the Guardian at the U.N. ocean summit in Lisbon, Mrema acknowledged the slow progress and said that the government’s current technical views are needed to break the cycle of significant issues.
“We need politics. Leaders talk about a transformation agreement, which has a desire for prominence. If negotiations continue in this way, we will probably end up with a framework. Still, perhaps it will not be a desire for prominence, innovation, or what is expected to change the loss of biodiversity,” he said.
At the G7 last week, the Canadian government said both Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron discussed Cop15 in meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Although hosted in Montreal, the summit will remain under the Chinese presidency, having been removed from Kunming after the country’s zero-Covid policy made hosting it impossible. Mrema said governments would work together to bring Chinese Cop15 to Canada.