They were the first to establish national parks and are among the richest nations in the world when it comes to biodiversity. Today, however, the United States is the only member state of the United Nations that has not ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is celebrating its 15th anniversary.e World Conference (COP15) in Canada. If US diplomats do indeed participate in Montreal in the discussions to reach a new global agreement aimed at halting the collapse of biodiversity, it will be as “super observers”: they will not be responsible for commitments that should have been adopted December 19 by 195 states and the European Union.
“The US is the only country that is not a member of the CBD, it is not ideal, acknowledges Monica Medina, US Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources. I hope that one day we will become members, but in the meantime that does not prevent us from being totally committed to the fight against the loss of biodiversity. We try to be as constructive and helpful as possible. »
Initially, the United States was one of the “champions” of biodiversity: from the 1980s, it participated very actively in the development of an international treaty. But when it was finally endorsed by dozens of states at the Rio summit in 1992 – at the same time as the Convention on Climate Change and the Convention to Combat Desertification – the battle for the White House is on and President George HW Bush refuses to budge.
“The complexity of the political system”
After taking office in 1993, his successor, Bill Clinton, initialed the treaty, but the treaty never received a ratification vote by the Senate, where it needed approval by two-thirds of representatives. Republicans, in particular, say they fear this convention will undermine the country’s sovereignty and become too much of a financial burden — concerns that experts say are unfounded.
“The Senate has been totally dysfunctional on international treaties for three decades, explains Brian O’Donnell, director of the American coalition Campaign for Nature. And the delay in ratifying them does not only concern texts relating to the environment. » In terms of protecting the planet, although the US has ratified the climate agreement from Paris, it is not a member of either the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants or the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species – i.a.
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