Brazil is isolating the continuity of the negotiations that are preparing the new UN Biodiversity Agreement into tension.
Brazilian diplomacy is preventing the approval of a document approving the 2021 budget for the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which includes expenses such as documentation and translation, for example.
Without budget approval, work will be suspended from January, which in practice prevents the preparation of the conference, which is due to take place at the end of 2021.
Although the funds are already secured, all 196 countries that are party to the convention must approve the budget. Brazil is the only country that is against it.
The country requested that its disagreements be recorded as footnotes in the budget approval document, in violation of the consensus requirement.
The situation sparked an unusual response in diplomacy. In an official statement, the President of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Egyptian Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad cited Brazil as responsible for the blockade.
“I was hoping to announce that the 2021 provisional budget decision has been adopted. However, following a comment by the Brazilian government regarding the inclusion of footnotes in the draft decisions, it was not possible to proceed. The comment was an objection to the adoption of these decisions by the respective bodies, ”the statement said.
“I would like to remind the parties that failure to adopt a budget before the end of 2020 would result in a complete suspension of the Secretariat’s work on January 1, 2021, as the financial rules do not provide for approval. The financial and legal implications of a breach of contract can create additional financial liability for the parties, ”the document continues.
According to sources attached to the negotiations, the Brazilian claim is that the negotiations should not take place through online meetings as not all countries have the same technical conditions for participation. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meetings are taking place online.
At the end of the statement, Fouad thanks for the contributions “so that these extraordinary meetings, which take place in such extraordinary times and formats, can be a success”.
For observers of the negotiations, Brazil is trying to slow down the preparation of the new agreement. In early March, before the conference was postponed to 2021, Brazil refused to discuss technical issues of the deal in a diversionary strategy, the then-blog revealed.
The new biodiversity agreement is intended to replace the current agreement, which was signed in 2011 and ends this year. Scientists and diplomats work with the expectation of approving the conservation of 30% of the planet as a global goal through the creation and maintenance of protected areas.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought by the blog did not comment until the time of this publication.