About 195 countries were set to finalise an accord to safeguard plants, animals and ecosystems at the UN talks, known as COP15, which had been due to start late last month in the Chinese city of Kunming.
International cooperation to finance a "sustainable development recovery" has gained new urgency. But multilateral cooperation continues to be paralysed by complacency, petty rivalries and inward-looking nationalism.
The world's imperfect responses to climate change, biodiversity loss, the Covid-19 pandemic, rising energy and food costs, and war reveal international systems in dire need of redesign.
What's it like co-writing a 3,500 page report on the dangers of climate change with hundreds of scientists worldwide, over Zoom calls during a pandemic? Eco-Business speaks to authors from the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore who were in the thick of the action.