“We cannot afford to spend hours discussing one line of text,” Basile van Havre, one of the two co-chairs of the talks, told Reuters.
Negotiations are scheduled to end on Sunday, with the draft agreement to be adopted in December by governments at a key biodiversity summit, known as “COP15”.
Though delegates previously met in Geneva to finish drafting the “post-2020 global biodiversity framework”, they failed to finalize the text for adoption at COP15.
Instead, they arranged to meet again in Kenya, but the Nairobi talks now threaten to be a repeat of past failures.
Progress is “very slow and not significant,” said Ogwal, emphasizing a need for compromise on the details of 21 biodiversity protection targets. These range from countries conserving 30% of their territory to slashing harmful agricultural subsidies.
Animal and plant species are currently going extinct at a rate not seen in 10 million years. Scientists say we are experiencing a sixth mass extinction event, driven by human consumption.
Brazil was accused of intentionally blocking negotiations on reforming food systems, by “introducing last minute proposals and watering down ambition,” said Marco Lambertini, director-general of World Wildlife Fund International.
Talks have also been derailed by delegations seeking to add as many as four new targets, including one on biodiversity and health.
“It is not the time for adding new goals,” a representative from China, which holds the COP presidency, said at the plenary.