Draft targets for the 10-year framework include a cornerstone pledge to protect 30 per cent of the world’s land and seas by 2030, eliminating harmful fishing and agriculture subsidies and tackling invasive species and reducing pesticides.
Finance is among the most divisive issues, as developing nations are demanding increased funding for conservation.
Earlier this year, a coalition of nations called for wealthy countries to provide at least US$100 billion annually – rising to US$700 billion a year by 2030 – for biodiversity.
Guterres told AFP: “It must be recognized that without a significant mobilization of funding, of various origins but with a substantial volume, developing countries will not be able to meet the requirements of biodiversity conservation.
“It should not be forgotten that most of the world’s biodiversity wealth exists in developing countries.”
The sticky issue of biopiracy is also causing roadblocks, as many mainly African countries demand that wealthy nations share the benefits of ingredients and formulas used in cosmetics and medicines derived from the Global South.
Implementation has emerged as another sticking point in recent days, with disagreements over how to ensure any final deal is put into practice – unlike its predecessor agreed in 2010.
“FLEXIBILITY, COMPROMISE, CONSENSUS”
The meeting, delayed two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, follows crucial climate change talks in Egypt last month that ended with little headway on reducing emissions and scaling down the use of planet-warming fossil fuels.
China is chair, though it is being hosted in Canada because of Beijing’s long-standing zero-COVID policy.
NGOs say the lack of world leaders at COP15 risks dampening momentum at the talks and could scupper an ambitious settlement.