“Life in harmony, into the future”: COP10 biodiversity conference, Nagoya
The 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) runs from 18 to 29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan, culminating in a high-level ministerial segment between 27 and 29 October. The UK delegation will be led by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman.
Japan’s Environment Minister, Ryu Matsumoto, explains the importance of the conference in his welcome message:
“Biodiversity loss is accelerating around the globe, exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. In this regard, the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties provides a unique opportunity to respond to the global challenge of biodiversity and meet the needs of present generation and generations to come.”
UK priorities for Nagoya
2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, has seen a growing appreciation of the importance of biodiversity and a recognition of the global failure to address the issue of biodiversity to date. The TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) study has raised awareness of the issue’s economic significance.
The UK’s stated priorities for the Nagoya conference are:
- To address the fact that the 2010 target has not been met, and identify the reasons behind this.
- To develop an ambitious and realistic successor to the 2010 biodiversity target, supported by a set of measurable and achievable sub-targets which will drive action on biodiversity worldwide.
- Greater integration of the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services in decision-making.
- Greater linkages between biodiversity, climate change and development, including through international forest conservation
A new response to the challenges facing natural systems
Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, asserts the “real opportunity to boost the prospects for biodiversity and the health of natural systems”:
“The ground work has been laid for a new response to the persistent and emerging challenges facing natural systems and their biodiversity.
“2010 is the opportunity to open a new chapter where the myriad of intelligent policies and smart market mechanisms that have been tried and tested over the past decades are rapidly evolved to become part of mainstream economic policy.
“On a planet of six billion, rising to over nine billion by 2050, more creative ways of managing ecosystems and biodiversity that reflect their central role in human well being and their inordinate contribution to live, livelihoods and economies will in large part determine whether an ever more populous humanity can survive and thrive in the 21st century.”
He highlights some of the striking findings of TEEB on the potential for “more creative management of the Earth’s nature-based assets”:
- The world’s 100,000 National Parks and protected areas generate wealth via nature-based good and services equal to around $5 trillion but only employ 1.5 million people – indicating a potentially significant new area for employment generation.
- TEEB estimates that securing these $5 trillion worth of services might require an additional investment of just $50 billion a year – a good cost benefit ratio of 100:1.
- Coral reefs – whose fishery, tourism and flood protection services are estimated at between $100,000 and $600,000 per square km – could be conserved for an investment of close to $780 per square km or 0.2 per cent of the value of the ecosystem protected.
- Deforestation contributes close to 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions – $17 billion to over $30 billion annually could halve this while securing livelihoods and boosting conservation-related employment in tropical countries.
- A global marine protected area network, involving the closure of 20 per cent of total fishing grounds, could result in profit losses of an estimated $270 million annually but could sustain fisheries worth $80-100 billion a year; assist in conserving an estimated 27 million jobs while generating one million new ones and protect food supplies for over one billion people.
Meeting unprecedented challenges
Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the CBD, sums up the challenge presented by the continuing loss of biodiversity and the urgent need for action:
“Our common future is at stake: as a family of nations and people we need to rise up individually and collectively to meet the unprecedented challenges of the loss of biodiversity compounded by climate change that we and our children are confronted with. I therefore sincerely hope that Aichi-Nagoya Summit will be the beginning of a new era for mankind ‘living in harmony with nature, into the Future’. It will therefore be historically associated with biodiversity in the same way as Kyoto is with climate change.”
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