Human rights, natural rights and … Christmas balls

An early Christmas tree! This is how the negotiators of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) assessed for after 2020 the result of their work carried out in Geneva in March 2022: a text overloaded with several design options remained in square brackets to be raised at the next conference of parties in the CBD, COP, fifteenth of the name, postponed until the end of 2022. An example? ” [Toutes les populations génétiquement distinctes et] [[[la] At least [90] [95] [X] % of]genetic diversity between and within [de toutes] [les populations d’] arter [sauvages et domestiques] [connues] is [maintenue] [sauvegardée, préservant ainsi leur potentiel d’adaptation].]”

After more than two years of virtual meetings, due to the Covid pandemic, we understand that the participants had to discuss and confirm their differences. Another reason why the tension prevents any consensus at this stage, the war in Ukraine, has created a scent of the Cold War, reminiscent of the atmosphere of the first conference on the environment, held in Stockholm in 1972. In 2022, the EU condemns the invasion of Ukraine, while the Russian delegates condemn the politicization of the debates and that the countries of the South remain “non-aligned”.

The original conference had linked the defense of the environment to the conditions of development. During the conferences, the debates have widened considerably, moving from the sole treatment of harm to the analysis of the causes, especially the modes of production and consumption, but also to the consideration of the various connections to the living world.

More crops!

As a result, when the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2015, the question was no longer so much how to distribute the “burden” of CO2 to achieve a commitment from all in accordance with their economic and social goals. In addition, the preamble “noted the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems […] and the protection of biodiversity, recognized by some cultures as Mother Earth, and notes the importance of some of the concepts of climate justice […] “. More sensitive cultural relations with nature and more just between people were thus legitimized in a convention where until then a vertical approach and technological solutions had dominated.

This extension was confirmed by the 2019. IPBES report. In Geneva this year, a further step was taken with the phrase “actions centered on Mother Earth” hung according to the inaugurated formula “nature-based solutions”. Guaranteeing the rights of indigenous peoples and women is often mentioned as having to support another way of living with nature.

Similarly, the IPCC report of April 2022 presents structural inequalities as one of the causes of global warming, while negotiations on the high seas discuss the rights to be given to the sea. This approach to environmental issues through human rights and the rights of nature is enshrined in the Escazú Agreement, named after a city in Costa Rica. This binding treaty, adopted on 22 April 2021 by several Latin American and Caribbean countries, covers the right of access to environmental information, public participation in environmental decisions, environmental justice, etc.

Of course, technological “solutionism” remains dominant in the discourse of politicians, but it is perhaps by resorting to the law and adding new “embellishments” in the texts that these conventions will move the lines. Let’s stay optimistic … without necessarily believing in Santa!

Leave a Comment