Environmental Activists Accuse Brazilian Government of Holding Up UN Biodiversity Talks

Environmental campaigners accused the Brazilian government on Sunday of obstructing global efforts aimed to protect nature, following a row over the use of virtual meeting technology to overcome the epidemic restrictions.

Environmental campaigners accused the Brazilian government on Sunday of obstructing global efforts aimed to protect nature, following a row over the use of virtual meeting technology to overcome the epidemic restrictions.

The activists said that the world’s wildlife and forests cannot afford any delay, and accused the government of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro of disrupting negotiations under the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity in the same way that Saudi Arabia has held up progress in climate talks over the last few years.

The dispute threatens a United Nations conference in the Chinese city of Kunming next year, which aims to set new targets to protect the Earth’s natural life support systems.

The Brazilian government opposes formal online negotiations which, it says, would put poorer countries at a disadvantage because they are more likely to have interconnectivity issues. Several developing countries have expressed similar doubts but none has used this as a reason to hold up negotiations on the budget, without which the Convention on Biological Diversity cannot operate.

The head of Brazil’s Convention on Biological Diversity negotiating team, Leonardo de Athayde, said his nation wasn’t blocking the budget, merely proposing a minor amendment. “We have to be careful about process. If we want a good outcome, it must be inclusive, transparent and fair,” he said.


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