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China is tapping Canada to help overcome the toughest negotiation hurdles at the United Nations’ COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal in a diplomatic move that signals growing trust between the two countries.

In a letter sent to delegations Thursday, COP15 president and Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu announced his plan for finding agreement as countries’ environment ministers arrive in Montreal for the final rounds of negotiations.

At stake is the global biodiversity framework, an international pact for protecting nature expected to be on the scale of the Paris Agreement that countries hope to secure by the end of this weekend. Countries have been negotiating many parts of the agreement, but a handful of sticking points remain and threaten to push the talks into overtime — or collapse entirely if consensus can’t be found.

Huang’s letter to delegates says he is teaming ministers up, with gender balance, from wealthy and developing countries to lead talks with other ministers with an eye toward finalizing consultations on Saturday.

Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault is paired with Egyptian environment minister and president of the last UN biodiversity conference, Yasmine Fouad, to lead consultations on “the key remaining issues of the global biodiversity framework,” reads the letter.

That puts the two countries in a very important role as the conference hits crunch time. Essentially, the question they must answer is how to balance the ambitious goal to protect nature and stop species collapse knowing that the more ambitious the goal, the more expensive it could be to achieve. Different countries have different perspectives on how to strike this balance, and because the conference agreement is consensus-based, finding a compromise position is a must.

“Those of us who want ambition need to understand that ambition must be accompanied by resource mobilization, and those countries who want resources to be mobilized need to understand that we can only get there with ambition,” Guilbeault said Thursday. “These things go together, and this is what we need to do in the coming days: find ways we can come to an agreement on these important issues.”

Climate Action Network Canada’s climate diplomacy manager Eddy Pérez says the Egypt-Canada pairing strikes a good balance because the Egyptian minister is a seasoned diplomat who was president of the previous biodiversity conference, and that as host of COP15, Canada has wanted to play the role of broker.

“The host is present, visible, out there and optimistic,” Pérez said. “That is the message that Minister Guilbeault every day conveys. He wants to be seen as a broker, and he has the trust of the Chinese presidency.”

China is tapping Canada to help overcome the toughest negotiation hurdles at the United Nations’ #COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal in a diplomatic move that signals growing trust between the two countries. #cdnpoli

China wants “to say that they support an ambitious outcome and count on Canada to help land it.”

The other ministerial pairings are Rwanda and Germany, who will discuss mobilizing financial resources, and Chile and Norway, who are tasked with leading consultations on how countries could share or benefit from scientific advancements made using biodiversity within their borders.

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Seriously? China wants to be friends? Ask the Two Michaels about that; ask Canadian farmers about that; ask the intelligence community about that!
China is just trying to hitch a ride on our good reputation to burnish its own and deflect attention from its own terrible record in environmentalism - to say nothing of human rights.

The problem with responding to China's initiative is that the American Global Empire has the destruction of Russia, and then China in its sights. It's way past time we divested ourselves of 19th C war games....but they are an essential part of any imperialistic plans for global dominance.

And most of us love to hate the 'other' and so go along with our American cohorts. The animals and plants that this planet has produced in profusion will be the first victims of capitalist war games by other means. We must continue to starve the people of Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Afghanistan....and soon there will be more, because American dominance depends on it.

If those space cadets in Washington decide to sanction Canada, we'll all pretty soon come to our senses. China knows this. H...ll, everyone who reads outside of the msm box knows this.

Biodiversity??? Unless we can profit from it, what does it matter??? We're the second tier of a tired old western Empire that doesn't 'get' other people, let alone other ecospheres. If we can't vacation there, or drill for oil or gold or lithium there, what does it matter???
Until we have to liberate what has managed to survive us, with a proxy war. Then we'll all get out the pom poms and cheer on our courageous military.

Respond to China's overtures??? We don't dare.

Yes, well the previous comment makes very good points and we can stand around snidely pointing fingers toward China's highly opportunistic attitudes and actions over the past decades. What we have to remember is that the Chines psyche absolutely requires the ultimate "win", the last word, the face saving posture. Superficially, the people of that nation are inoculated with that behaviour.

In reality, the Chines are not homogeneous robots and buried within the global impression of impregnability there are humans with independent brains; not all are members of the "hive" mind.

Perhaps it should go without saying, but Canada could further the aims of the conference by for once making meaningful commitments, and then living up to them.
No more of this "protected areas" where anything goes, from logging to mining to building superhighways through it, exploring for petro fuels in the ocean areas, increasing dirty, dangerous and harmful shipping, etc. etc. etc.