AboutZoos, Since 2008


Last moment agree­ment on Bio­di­ver­sity res­cue in Nagoya

pub­lished 24 Decem­ber 2010 | mod­i­fied 30 Octo­ber 2010

Finally, at the very last moment, after two weeks of nego­ti­a­tion dur­ing CBD-​COP-​10, gov­ern­ments agreed to a new Treaty to pro­tect plant and ani­mals species, and their habi­tats. The 10th Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties to the Con­ven­tion on Bio­log­i­cal Diver­sity in Nagoya, Japan, des­per­ately needed a final agreement.

The world couldn’t afford another fail­ure to agree to pro­tect the global envi­ron­ment. Nego­ti­a­tions were tough, with the devel­oped and devel­op­ing coun­tries quar­rel­ing over the access and benefit-​sharing (ABS) clause. This clause was incor­po­rated into the Con­ven­tion on Bio­log­i­cal Diver­sity to ensure that ade­quate funds would flow from indus­tri­al­ized nations to help pre­serve the ecosys­tems of devel­op­ing countries.

The inter­ests of the two camps dif­fered markedly. In gen­eral, indus­tri­al­ized nations wanted to be as free as pos­si­ble to use the valu­able genetic resources found in the rich ecosys­tems of many devel­op­ing nations. On the other side of the nego­ti­at­ing table, devel­op­ing coun­tries wished to har­ness these genetic resources, like their energy and min­eral resources, to pro­mote their own eco­nomic growth.

The new Treaty is called his­tor­i­cal by the UNEP. It lays down basic ground rules on how nations coop­er­ate in obtain­ing genetic resources from ani­mals to plants and fungi. It also out­lines how the ben­e­fits, aris­ing for exam­ple when a plant’s genet­ics are turned into a com­mer­cial prod­uct such as a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, are shared with the coun­tries and com­mu­ni­ties who have con­served and man­aged that resource often for millennia.

The Treaty or Strate­gic Plan con­sists of 20 tar­gets to tackle the extinc­tion cri­sis and reduce the rate of bio­di­ver­sity loss with 50% in 2020. So, every­thing seems to turn out for the best, which is also what peo­ple involved in the nego­ti­a­tions wants us to believe, and is addressed like­wise in press releases from UNEP and IUCN. Unfor­tu­nately, sanc­tions are not part of the agree­ment. There is no rea­son to believe that the tar­gets will be met this time, because in 1992 it was agreed that bio­di­ver­sity loss should be reduced sig­nif­i­cantly, and again in 2002 gov­ern­ments agreed to this. The inten­tions are good, but there is a lack of mea­sures to enforce them. (Sources: NRC, 30.10.2010; Asahi​.com, 23.10.2010)

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Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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