Biodiversity Media Alliance

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World’s governments set to agree three big boosts for biodiversity and human security

UN CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY - PRESS RELEASE

Montreal 15 September 2010. Next month, governments from around the world will gather in Nagoya, Japan to make three key decisions that will determine whether current and future generations continue to benefit from nature’s riches.

On the table is a comprehensive ten-year strategy that – if enacted – would revolutionise the way we manage and interact with the world about us, and bring immense social and economic benefits to people worldwide.

Scientists warn that such action is urgent to prevent tipping points, such as the collapse of fisheries, a widespread dieback of the Amazon rainforest and cascades of extinction triggered by invasive species.

Also up for agreement in Nagoya are large flows of finance that will be needed to enact the strategy — for instance, to support developing countries that are asked to protect large areas of wilderness for the good of all of humanity.

The costs will be high but the returns on the investment will be far greater as biodiversity provides an important variety of goods and services that benefit humankind, from ensuring food security and clean water supplies to stabilising our climate.

The third piece of the puzzle is a new set of international rules that would provide transparent access to the biological resources of the world while ensuring that countries and communities get a fair share of any benefits that arise from their use — such as when companies develop commercial medicines from plants or other life-forms.

This new ‘protocol’ on access and benefit-sharing could create major incentives for countries to protect their forests and other natural capital while enabling businesses to use biological resources to develop useful new products in a sustainable way.

The meeting in Japan – known as COP10 – will bring together 193 parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an international law that was created at Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

Since then, there has been growing awareness of how important nature is to human health, livelihoods and national economies. But at the same time the state of the natural world has continued to decline steeply, as revealed in the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 report which was released in May 2010.

In 2002 governments agreed to reduce significantly the loss of biodiversity by 2010. But they failed, in large part because they did not address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss – such as a lack of awareness of the true value of biodiversity and a failure to include the true costs of biodiversity loss in policies and plans.

With a new, more ambitious and better-designed strategy, governments now have another chance to create a global agreement to preserve and wisely use our planet’s living resources in ways that bring benefits to all. But the meeting in Japan could be a missed opportunity if governments cannot reach agreement on key issues.

“The three big outcomes of the COP10 meeting in Nagoya would be global agreement on a new strategy, the mobilisation of the finance needed to make it happen, and a new legally-binding protocol on access and benefit sharing,” says Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. “The decisions we take now will affect biodiversity for the coming millennium. We can’t have one outcome without the others. The COP10 meeting is all or nothing.”

COP 10 is preceded by a special High Level Meeting on Biodiversity of the United Nations General Assembly on 22 September 2010. Through a series of interactive panel discussions, governments will discuss the strategic plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the role of biodiversity in sustainable development and in the fight against climate change, and the relationship of biodiversity to the Millennium Development Goals.

For requests for interviews and any other substantive information, please contact David Ainsworth, Information Officer +1 514 287 7025 or david.ainsworth@cbd.int

NOTES TO EDITORS, including country-specific information:

How is an international law relevant to my country, and why is international cooperation needed?
National laws and customs can protect biological resources and control how they are used and managed. But the various values and vulnerabilities of biodiversity are global issues. Decisions taken in distant countries can affect biodiversity in your country for better or for worse. Equally, biodiversity in far-off places can bring benefits to people worldwide. Global agreements are needed to ensure that countries can work together to maximise the benefits of biodiversity and ensure that actions in one place do not cause problems elsewhere.

How do I find out about implementation of the CBD in my country?
National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and National Reports are the two most effective tools to see what your country is doing to implement the CBD and what the status of its progress is. Each member country is requested to develop NBSAPs to guarantee that the objectives of the CBD are undertaken at all levels and in all sectors in each country. The National Biodiversity Strategy reflects how a country intends to fulfill the objectives of the CBD, while the Action Plan comprises the concrete actions necessary to achieve the goals of the strategy.

National Reports show the status of biodiversity and actions taken in a given country, and give recommendations for further actions to prevent biodiversity loss. On the CBD website, Country Profiles provide an overview of the status of biodiversity in each country, and the most relevant national information as it relates to the CBD.

Links to country-specific information:
National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans: www.cbd.int/nbsap/
National Reports: www.cbd.int/reports/
Country profiles: www.cbd.int/countries/
Contact details for National Focal Points http://www.cbd.int/information/nfp.shtml

COP10 (the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity)
  • At the Nagoya Conference Centre in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, from 18 to 29 October 2010.
  • COP 10 will include a high-level ministerial segment organized by the host country in consultation with the Secretariat and the Bureau. The high-level segment will take place from 27 to 29 October 2010
  • The proceedings of the plenary sessions and working groups will be webcast.
  • Website: http://www.cbd.int/cop10/
Information for Media about COP 10:

Information about Biodiversity and the Convention on Biological Diversity:

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