Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Biodiversity Conference Gives Cause for Rejoicing

By Hiroshi Nagai*

TOKYO (IDN) - "If Kyoto entered history as the city where the climate accord was born, Nagoya will be remembered as the city where the biodiversity accord was born," said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 

He was commenting the tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-10) that concluded October 29 in Nagoya, Japan. 

"History will recall that it was here in Nagoya that a new era of living in harmony was born and new global alliance to protect life on earth was established. History will also recall that this would not have been possible without the outstanding leadership and commitment of the government and people of Japan," he added.

"The outcome of this meeting is the result of hard work, the willingness to compromise, and a concern for the future of our planet. With this strong outcome, we can begin the process of building a relationship of harmony with our world, into the future," COP-10 president Ryu Matsumoto, the Environment Minister of Japan, explained.

These upbeat assessments sought to highlight that COP-10 achieved three inter-linked goals: adoption of a new ten-year Strategic Plan to guide international and national efforts to save biodiversity through enhanced action to meet the objectives of the CBD; a resource mobilization strategy that provides the way forward to a substantial increase to current levels of official development assistance (ODA) in support of biodiversity; and a new international protocol on access to and sharing of the benefits from the use of the genetic resources of the planet. 

The Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity -- also known as the 'Aichi Target', named after the Aichi Prefecture of Japan in which Nagoya is located -- adopted by the meeting includes 20 headline targets, organized under five strategic goals that address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss, reduce the pressures on biodiversity, safeguard biodiversity at all levels, enhance the benefits provided by biodiversity, and provide for capacity-building. 

As part of these targets, COP-10 agreed to at least halve and where feasible bring close to zero the rate of loss of natural habitats including forests. It also established a target of 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of marine and coastal areas.

It was agreed that Governments will restore at least 15 percent of degraded areas through conservation and restoration, and will make special efforts to reduce the pressures faced by coral reefs. The COP-10 parties further pledged a substantial increase in the level of financial resources in support of implementation of the Convention. 

The 'Aichi Target' will be the overarching framework on biodiversity not only for the biodiversity-related conventions, but also for the entire United Nations system, CBD stated in a media release. This overarching international framework is to be translated into national biodiversity strategy and action plans within two years. 

Actions in support will also take place at sub-national and local levels. The conference endorsed a plan of action on cities and biodiversity adopted by the Nagoya Biodiversity City summit attended by more 200 mayors. 122 legislators from around the world attending the GLOBE meeting on parliamentarians and biodiversity agreed to back the implementation of the new Strategic Plan. 

The importance of acting to conserve biodiversity also received support from the donor community. Representatives of 34 bilateral and multilateral donor agencies agreed to translate the plan into their respective development cooperation priorities. 

A highlight of Nagoya gathering was the multi-year Plan of Action on South-South Cooperation on Biodiversity for Development adopted by the 131 members of the Group of 77 and China. Conference sources consider this as "an important instrument at the service of the new vision". 

The conference also announced funding in support of implementation of the Convention of Biological Diversity. Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced a USD 2 billion fund, the Environment Minister Matsumoto announced the establishment of a Japan Biodiversity Fund. Additional financial resources were announced by France, the European Union and Norway. Some USD 110 million were mobilized in support of projects under the CBD Life Web Initiative aimed at enhancing the protected-area agenda. 

Besides, financial support for the Strategic Plan will be provided under the framework of the resource mobilization strategy. Parties will work to define in time for the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 2012 in India, the targets and mechanisms through which financial resources can be identified, unleashed and channeled, CBD said. 

Yet another highlight of CO-10 was that the participants adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization. According to CBD, this "historic agreement" creates a framework that balances access to genetic resources on the basis of prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms with the fair and equitable sharing of benefits while taking into account the important role of traditional knowledge, 

The Protocol also proposes the creation of a global multilateral mechanism that will operate in transboundary areas or situations where prior informed consent cannot be obtained. 

The Nagoya Protocol is expected to enter into force by 2012, with support from the Global Environment Facility, amounting to USD 1 million.

While some 18,000 participants representing 193 Parties to the CBD joined the non-ministerial part of the conference, the high-level segment of the Nagoya Summit was held with the participation of 122 ministers and five heads of State and Government, including the Presidents of Gabon and Guinea-Bissau, the Prime Minister of Yemen representing the Group of 77 and China, as well as Prince Albert of Monaco. 

The significance of better integrating the biodiversity agenda with that of climate change and land degradation was covered in the dynamic programme of events and activities in which heads of agencies and international organizations discussed the ways that all three agendas could be implemented in support of sustainable development. 

*This article was written in Japanese, and adapted into English by Katsuhiro Asagiri. (IDN-InDepthNews/31.10.2010)


Jonny said...

Hope that the The Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Aichi) project will help protect the biodiversity.

Jonny said...

Integrating the biodiversity agenda with climate change and land degradation will help support sustainable development.

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