Protecting Global Biodiversity in Hyderabad
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We are living in a time of accelerated biodiversity loss. Between 1st and 19th October those charged with responding to this challenge – including policy makers, senior UN officers, academics and private and voluntary sector organisations – gathered in Hyderabad, India for the 11th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The meeting agreed to double total biodiversity-related international resource flows to developing countries, from all sources, both public and private taken together, by 2015, and to maintain this level at least until 2020. The doubling of resources allocated to halting the decline in animal and plant species globally will allow countries to put in place concrete plans to protect wildlife and the natural environment.
Environment Minister Richard Benyon, who represented the UK, welcomed the outcome:
“The commitment and willingness shown by all the nations who have come here to India has resulted in real progress being made. This agreement is about so much more than just money; it is about helping countries to share understanding and increase their capacity to protect biodiversity.
“I’d like to thank the Indian Government for hosting such a successful conference here in Hyderabad and for uniting colleagues from so many countries with a shared aspiration to protect the world’s wildlife. Genuine help to protect the world’s biodiversity hotspots will flow from the Hyderabad agreement.”
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity
The 1992 Rio Earth Summit saw the adoption of the CBD. The Convention’s three objectives: conservation, sustainable use of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from genetic resources (the Nagoya Protocol) have been ratified by 193 countries. CBD meetings take place biennially and function as the most important conferences on global biodiversity.
The key outcome from the previous meeting in Nagoya in 2010 was the establishment of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 and with this the goal of halting biodiversity loss by the end of the Decade. The Hyderabad meeting was important for keeping the commitments made in Nagoya on track and to agree a global plan on the resources – financial, technical and expertise – needed by countries to deliver projects on the ground.
Hyderabad 2012: CoP 11
The overall agenda for the 170 countries participating in CoP 11 includes the setting of national targets, the status of the Nagoya Protocol (with regard to access to genetic resources and benefit sharing) and the updating of National Biodiversity Action Plans. The critical decision-making element, the final two-day ‘High Level Segment’, focused on delivery of the Aichi Targets, coastal and marine biodiversity, access to genetic resources and issues around livelihoods, poverty reduction and food security.
India has taken as its slogan for this meeting ‘Prakruti Rakshati Rakshita’: ‘nature protects if She is protected’. Commenting at COP 11, Ms. Amina Mohamed, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UNEP said:
“the losses the world – especially the poor – are sustaining annually as a result of unsustainable management of the natural world dwarf the investments.”
UK action and involvement
Working together on biological diversity, the environment departments from the UK and devolved governments make up the ‘Four Countries Biodiversity Group’. In July of this year the Group published the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework detailing actions that will take us up to 2020, the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity.
Among the range of initiatives that comprise the UK’s implementation of the CBD is the 2011 National Ecosystem Assessment. This independent analysis of the state and value of the UK’s natural environment is the first assessment of its kind in the world. It details the ways in which people benefit from ‘ecosystem services’ and quantifies the well-being and economic significance of these.
Findings from the Global Assessment of Resources for Biodiversity Panel
This important work is jointly funded by India and the UK. The first findings from the Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 have been presented to those attending CoP-11. Using research and analysis from a panel of experts the Global Assessment details the resources and commitment needed to deliver the Aichi targets and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.
The UK minister with responsibility for biodiversity Richard Benyon, speaking in Hyderabad, said the Panel:
“has shown how important it is to mobilize resources of every kind – human, technical and financial, both public and private – in order to achieve the challenging targets we set ourselves at Nagoya.”
Investment for biodiversity
The chair of the Panel, Pavan Sukhdev, presenting interim findings to participants, reported that the greatest investment (in the order of several hundreds of billions of US dollars) is needed in the economic and societal drivers of loss of biodiversity and ecosystem restoration. Action here will offer benefits not just to the natural environment but also to human health and livelihoods.
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