Sunday, October 21, 2012

COP 11 biological diversity: Islands show the way to conserve nature and achieve sustainable livelihoods

Hyderabad: “Islands are showing the way to conserve nature and achieve sustainable livelihoods,” stated Seychelles’ Minister for Environment & Energy, Dr. Rolph Payet during Island Innovations, a dynamic high level event held during United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties in Hyderabad, India.

The event, co-hosted by Seychelles and India, demonstrated how islands are demonstrating global leadership and rapid progress in addressing environmental and poverty challenges. They are also inspiring others around the world by implementing a variety of successful large-scale initiatives including world-class marine protected areas, multi-country conservation commitments, progressive biosecurity planning and innovative financing mechanisms to support these programs.

Island ecosystems are critical to the health of the world. The earth’s 175,000 plus islands are home to 600million plus people and support 20% of global biodiversity, including a huge number of species found nowhere else. The increasing challenges facing islands are massive, threatening the very existence of some islands. Yet islands are taking action and making progress to conserve their unique and invaluable environments.

Island Innovations showcased the leadership and commitment to action of island countries and countries with islands to developing solutions to these challenges. A range of new and significant commitments to conserve nature were announced during the event:

· The Caribbean Biodiversity Fund, the first regional endowment to be developed in the world to support multiple national level conservation Trust Funds was launched by Grenada’s Multilateral Environmental Agreement Ambassador Dr. Spencer Thomas on behalf of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative countries along with Peter Hilliges, Director Natural Resources Sector for Latin America and the Caribbean for the German development bank (KfW), and Robert Weary, Director of Conservation Finance for The Nature Conservancy. US$30million has already been committed to this Fund towards an initial target of US$40million by the Government of Germany, The Nature Conservancy, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Once the target is reached it will provide US$2 million per year in critical sustainable financing to Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to support these Caribbean Challenge Initiative countries to protect nature.

· Deputy Premier of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), The Honorable Dr. Kedrick Pickering announced that BVI will co-host a Caribbean Political and Business Leaders Summit with Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group and the Prime Minister of Grenada in 2013 as part of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative. The Summit will build on the visionary commitments of Caribbean Challenge countries to protect near shore marine areas by 2020 and in developing sustainable finance mechanisms to support these goals.

· Republic of the Marshall Islands Minister in Assistance to the President, The Honorable Tony de Brum focused on the progress made in achieving the goals of the Micronesia Challenge to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.

· New Caledonia’s Member of the European Parliament, The Honorable M. Maurice Ponga, announced that the European Parliament will support a third phase European Union funding of 2million Euros under the Voluntary Scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services in Territories of European Overseas (BEST) and push to better integrate EU overseas biodiversity conservation and resource management in EU policies.

· The Chair of Hawai`i’s Department of Land &Natural Resources, USA, William Aila showcased the states innovative approach to achieving a green economy by bringing together Hawai`i leaders from energy, food and the environment together as part of the Hawai’i Green Growth Initiative to achieve Hawai`i’s sustainability goals and be a model for integrated green growth. “As islands, we understand that these challenges are linked, and we must solve them together. Our economic future depends on caring for our environment mauka to makai.”

· Ecuador’s Director of the Galapagos National Park, Edwin Naula, announced the recent creation of the Galapagos Invasive Species Endowment’ which currently is generating around UD$925,000 for managing invasive species in the archipelago.

· United Nations Development Programme Associate Administrator, Rebecca Grynspan, announced that UNDP will be increasing support to islands and Dr. Naoko Ishii was welcomed as the new CEO and Director of The Global Environment Facility.

Palau was recognized for their global leadership in marine policy in establishing Palau’s Protected Areas Network Act, initiated in 2003, and the Shark Haven Act from 2009 which resulted in Palau being the winner of the Future Policy Award 2012.

“Islands are working together, getting results and showing the way to achieve the Aichi targets,” stated Dr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, "but further action is urgently needed to conserve and protect the unique island ecosystems and surrounding seas."

Minister Payet reinforced this statement affirming, “The time for action is now. We must continue to take leadership, to make visionary commitments and ensure these commitments are implemented on the ground. We must scale up the bright spots emerging from islands and invest in what works. We must continue to work together as a Global Island Partnership.”

The Global Island Partnership is co-chaired by the Presidents of Seychelles and Palau and Prime Minister of Grenada to promote action for island conservation and sustainable livelihoods. Island Innovations was coordinated by the Global Island Partnership and Rare with the support of the Japan Biodiversity Fund, the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) through the BEST Preparatory Action and the ISLANDS Project funded by European Union through the Indian Ocean Commission.

Astronomers uncover a surprising trend in galaxy evolution

WASHINGTON -- A comprehensive study of hundreds of galaxies observed
by the Keck telescopes in Hawaii and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope
has revealed an unexpected pattern of change that extends back 8
billion years, or more than half the age of the universe.

"Astronomers thought disk galaxies in the nearby universe had settled
into their present form by about 8 billion years ago, with little
additional development since," said Susan Kassin, an astronomer at
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the study's
lead researcher. "The trend we've observed instead shows the
opposite, that galaxies were steadily changing over this time

Today, star-forming galaxies take the form of orderly disk-shaped
systems, such as the Andromeda Galaxy or the Milky Way, where
rotation dominates over other internal motions. The most distant blue
galaxies in the study tend to be very different, exhibiting
disorganized motions in multiple directions. There is a steady shift
toward greater organization to the present time as the disorganized
motions dissipate and rotation speeds increase. These galaxies are
gradually settling into well-behaved disks.

Blue galaxies -- their color indicates stars are forming within them -- show less disorganized motions and ever-faster rotation speeds the closer they are observed to the present. This trend holds true for galaxies of all masses, but the most massive systems always show the highest level of organization.
Researchers say the distant blue galaxies they studied are gradually 
transforming into rotating disk galaxies like our own Milky Way.

"Previous studies removed galaxies that did not look like the
well-ordered rotating disks now common in the universe today," said
co-author Benjamin Weiner, an astronomer at the University of Arizona
in Tucson. "By neglecting them, these studies examined only those
rare galaxies in the distant universe that are well-behaved and
concluded that galaxies didn't change."

Rather than limit their sample to certain galaxy types, the
researchers instead looked at all galaxies with emission lines bright
enough to be used for determining internal motions. Emission lines
are the discrete wavelengths of radiation characteristically emitted
by the gas within a galaxy. They are revealed when a galaxy's light
is separated into its component colors. These emission lines also
carry information about the galaxy's internal motions and distance.

The team studied a sample of 544 blue galaxies from the Deep
Extragalactic Evolutionary Probe 2 (DEEP2) Redshift Survey, a project
that employs Hubble and the twin 10-meter telescopes at the W. M.
Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Located between 2 billion and 8 billion
light-years away, the galaxies have stellar masses ranging from about
0.3 percent to 100 percent of the mass of our home galaxy.

A paper describing these findings will be published Oct. 20 in The
Astrophysical Journal.

The Milky Way galaxy must have gone through the same rough-and-tumble
evolution as the galaxies in the DEEP2 sample, and gradually settled
into its present state as the sun and solar system were being formed.

In the past 8 billion years, the number of mergers between galaxies
large and small has decreased sharply. So has the overall rate of
star formation and disruptions of supernova explosions associated
with star formation. Scientists speculate these factors may play a
role in creating the evolutionary trend they observe.

Now that astronomers see this pattern, they can adjust computer
simulations of galaxy evolution until these models are able to
replicate the observed trend. This will guide scientists to the
physical processes most responsible for it.

The DEEP2 survey is led by Lick Observatory at the University of
California at Santa Cruz in collaboration with the University of
California at Berkeley, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Johns
Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., the University of Chicago and
the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation
between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space
Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages the telescope. The Space
Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md., conducts
Hubble science operations. STScI is operated by the Association of
Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. in Washington.

Friday, October 19, 2012

AstraZeneca launches its patented life-saving heart drug BRILINTA® (Ticagrelor) in India

BRILINTA® is indicated to reduce heart attack and cardiovascular death in patients with Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS)

Hyderabad, Oct 18:  AstraZeneca Pharma India Limited (AZPIL) today announced the launch of a new patented antiplatelet drug BRILINTA® (Ticagrelor) in India. BRILINTA® is an oral antiplatelet treatment for Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) in adult patients. BRILINTA® is competitively priced to enable ACS patients benefit from having access to this medicine.

BRILINTA® works by preventing the formation of new blood clots and maintaining blood flow in the body to help reduce patient’s risk of another cardiovascular event (called atherothrombotic events) such as a heart attack or cardiovascular death.

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), based on the New Drug Advisory Committee’s (NDAC) recommendations granted its approval in May 2012 for marketing BRILINTA® (Ticagrelor) tablets in India.

The DCGI approval is based upon the submission of data from the landmark PLATO (Platelet Inhibition and Patient Outcomes) trial, comparing treatment with BRILINTA® to Clopidogrel - the current standard of care, available in the market for over a decade.

Dr. Paurus Irani, Vice President Medical & Regulatory Affairs of AstraZeneca Pharma India Limited said, “With over 40 lakh people affected by ACS in India each year, BRILINTA® gives cardiologists a new and effective treatment to help reduce the rate of heart attack and cardiovascular deaths in these patients. Such exciting medical breakthroughs don’t happen very often.”

To date, BRILINTA has been approved in 83 countries and launched in 63 countries (including India now) under the trade name BRILINTA® and in the European Union under the trade name BRILIQUE™.

COP 11 biological diversity: Biodiversity campaigns needed to meet UN 2020 target on global biodiversity awareness

Hyderabad. “By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably” is the first ambitious target that the United Nations Convention (UN) on Biological Diversity Biodiversity Convention (CBD) has set together with governments around the world. The Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) estimates that a series of global biodiversity campaigns is required to achieve this ambition.

Based on research among 10,000 consumers in ten different countries UEBT estimates that without
additional measures, consumer knowledge of biodiversity will only reach about 30% by 2020. Governments will therefore need to launch a series of campaigns, much like the UN International Year of Biodiversity Campaign that was organised in 2010 by the UN.

In designing these campaigns the following is of interest:

• Young people have a higher understanding of biodiversity than older people: The ability to correctly define biodiversity is much higher for people under 30 years of age (28%) than for those of 30 to 44 (24%) and 45 and older (22%).

• Higher educated and higher income groups show best knowledge on biodiversity. With 39% correct definitions of biodiversity, participants with a high education level scored much higher than those with a medium (26%) or lower level of education (23%). Also, people in the higher income group knew much more (30% correct definitions) than those with a lower income (21%).

• Globally, the media is the most important source of biodiversity knowledge, with TV
programmes, newspapers and magazines on top of the list. Depending on the country however, the influence of certain sources varies considerably: In India, for example, schools are by far the most important source, while in the USA, respondents indicate that websites and blogs are almost as important as school and newspapers.

• Campaigns like the UN International Year of Biodiversity Campaign in 2010 can help increase awareness: Between early 2010 and early 2012, both the awareness (from 67% to 70%) as well as the correct definitions (from 38% to 43%) of biodiversity have risen. The successful International Year of Biodiversity ran throughout 2010.

These are some of the findings the Union for Ethical BioTrade presented during the UN Biodiversity
Summit in India this week, where governments discuss the progress on the 2020 targets of the CBD,
the so-called Aichi Targets, which were agreed upon in a UN biodiversity summit in Japan in 2010.

The annual UEBT Biodiversity Barometer provides information on evolving biodiversity awareness and
knowledge around the globe, with this year’s focus including India and seven other countries. It is used as one of the indicators for measuring progress towards meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Target 1.

“The UEBT Biodiversity Barometer results show the immense growth potential regarding biodiversity
awareness globally” says Rik Kutsch Lojenga, Executive Director of the Union for Ethical BioTrade. “The success of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity campaign is a good example of how global, regional and local initiatives can help raise biodiversity awareness and understanding. We believe regular campaigns like this are needed to achieve the 2020 Aichi Target Number 1, reaching global awareness of biodiversity.”

COP 11 biological diversity: Financing Successful Nature Conservation in Lean Economic Times: World Bank Report Highlights Latin America’s Successes

HYDERABAD, October 12, 2012 - New approaches to financing nature conservation that mobilize funding and community action can provide the long-term sustainability needed to secure healthier ecosystems and improve livelihoods, a World Bank report released today shows.
Launched at the 11th Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Hyderabad, India, the report, Expanding Financing for Biodiversity Conservation: Experiences from Latin America and the Caribbean, documents five examples across Latin America where diverse sources of financing – from public to private to non-government – are being combined to fund effective conservation and community development.
Speaking at the CBD meeting, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte said: “In an era of diminishing public expenditures for biodiversity conservation, we need innovation, communication and effective partnerships. We are seeing more and more good examples of partnership that cross the boundaries between the public, private and non-government spheres to bridge public financing gaps and to deliver effective conservation on the ground.“
One of the success stories the report highlights comes from the Brazilian state of Acre which decoupled its economic growth from deforestation. The State has reduced deforestation rates by 70 percent while growing its GDP by 44 percent between 2003 and 2008. It did so by reducing illegal deforestation through the monitoring of timber licenses, enforcing environmental regulations, regularizing land tenure, creating development programs in intact forest areas, targeting social programs at those most in need, and improving agricultural and forest production processes.

Also in Brazil, the state of Rio de Janeiro filled 43 percent of its conservation financing gap by setting up the Atlantic Forest Fund (Fundo da Mata Atlântica, FMA). It is partially funded through legally enshrined compensation payments for the environmental impacts of industrial and infrastructure projects. The funds are being used to finance projects in approximately 20 protected areas.

Meanwhile, Peru attracted additional funds to its protected areas by signing management contracts with nongovernment organizations. The contractors are responsible for spending at least as much as the government, but have raised up to four times more, outstripping the government’s annual contributions.

As countries search for ways to conserve the world’s biodiversity, Latin America is showing the way. The following elements are needed:

· Variety in arrangements. Governments are raising resources from diverse stakeholders, adapting a variety of arrangements to local circumstances.

· Enabling legal and institutional support. Government agencies need to be empowered by regulations and human resources and enforceable agreements with communities, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector.

· Capacity based on record of experience. The creation of a formal civil service for protected area agencies (including national parks) and for conservation aspects in associated forestry and planning agencies is key to success.

· Building social capital. Conservation needs to be owned by the communities who know best about nature. Successful conservation programs have transformed them into the strongest allies.

· Clarity about conservation objectives. People can mobilize when targets and results are clear and can be tracked transparently and in the near term.

· Strong government leadership. Government leadership is needed for the foreseeable future because the true value that biodiversity provides to humankind is yet to be fully quantified, and ecological services are generally not traded in markets.

COP 11 biological diversity: More Investment in Protected Areas Vital to Supporting Biodiversity, Livelihoods and Local Economies

Faster Progress Needed on Targets to Protect World’s Key Nature Sites, says UN  Report

Hyderabad:  Despite the growing number of nature reserves, national parks and other protected areas across the globe, half of the world’s richest biodiversity zones remain entirely unprotected.

Protected areas are being managed in a more equitable way, with a greater role for indigenous communities. But current investment in protected areas is only around half of what is needed to support endangered species, protect threatened habitats and deliver the full benefits that sustainably-managed protected areas can deliver. These are among the main findings of a report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that tracks progress towards internationally-agreed targets on the world’s protected areas.
The report was presented today at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB COP 11) in Hyderabad, India. The study received the the official backing of countries at COP 11 this week as a major contribution towards tracking progress on global efforts to increase protected areas.

Two years ago countries set a goal under the CBD that by 2020, at least 17 per cent of the world’s terrestrial areas and 10 per cent of marine areas would be equitably managed and conserved.

The Protected Planet Report 2012 says that protected areas have increased in number by almost 60 per cent, and in area by just under 50 per cent, since 1990. But the study states that poor management, under-funding and a lack of critical data on protected areas mean that the world is making insufficient progress towards the 2020 goals.

Produced by UNEP’s World Conversation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the study is the first in an annual series that will monitor global efforts to support and expand protected areas.

“Protected areas contain some 15 per cent of the world’s carbon stock and support the livelihoods of over one billion people, making them a crucial factor in supporting biodiversity, ecosystem services and human livelihoods,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
“This new report provides not only the fact and figures required by decision-makers, but outlines ways to overcome fundamental challenges in the management of protected areas. It highlights the key actions required to meet international goals, and to harness the multiple economic and environmental benefits that sustainably managed protected areas can provide,” added Mr. Steiner.

Global Protected Area Coverage

According to the most recent figures, just over 12 per cent of the world’s terrestrial areas are thought to be protected today.

To meet the CBD target of 17 per cent, an additional 6 million square kilometres of land and inland waters would have to be recognized as protected by world governments - an area more than twice the size of Argentina.

Marine protected areas are lagging even further behind. Around 1.6 per cent of the global ocean area is protected, mostly in near-coastal areas. To meet the CBD target of 10 percent, an additional 8 million square kilometres of marine and coastal areas would need to be recognized as protected - an area just over the size of Australia. However, the UNEP study states that the number of very large marine protected areas (MPAs) has grown significantly in recent years. Today, there are over 13 MPAs each with an area greater than 100,000 square kilometres. Overall, marine protected area coverage has increased by over 150 percent since 2003.

Coverage of Biodiversity - Are Protected Areas in the Right Place?

The UNEP study uses a number of indicators to asses the location of exisiting protected areas. These include ‘ecoregions’ (large areas with characteristic combinations of species distinct from adjcent areas) and other internationally-recognized biodiversity zones, such as Important Bird Areas.

The study finds that the global protected area network does not yet provide adequate coverage of the world’s terrestrial ecoegions. Latest figures show that half of the world’s key ecoregions only have 10 per cent of their area protected. A further 10 per cent of global ecoregions have less than 1 per cent of their area protected, suggesting critical gaps in biodiversity protection.

Only 13 percent of the world’s marine ecoregions meet the CBD’s 10 per cent coverage target. The UNEP study says that a dramatic acceleration in the creation or expanasion of marine protect areas is needed to cover strategic sites and reduce biodiversity gaps.

The number of Important Bird Areas completely covered by protected areas has risen to 28 percent, yet just under half had no coverage at all.

This could have significant impacts on efforts to reduce the loss of species and habitats:

• In Australia, 13 per cent of all threatened species and 21 per cent of critically endangered species are not covered by any protected area

• In Africa, around 26 per cent of threatened bird species are not covered by any proected area

Global datasets for Important Bird Areas and other key diversity sites have only become available in the last ten years. More effort is needed, says the UNEP study, to ensure that decision-makers have access to updated data on the location of marine and terrestrial ecoregions.

The UNEP report says that the ecological performance of protected areas also remains poorly understood. Further studies are needed to anaylze the impacts of protected areas on species, ecosystems and genetic resources. This will also require improved, comprehensive datasets on protected areas, and on biodiversity trends outside protected zones.

Management and Governance – Key Challenges

From small nature reserves to large national parks, all protected areas require effective management to achieve their objectives. Countries have also committed to managing protected areas in a more equitable way, where indigenous communities, civil society and other non-government bodies play an active role.

According to a 2010 study, less than a third of the world’s protected areas have a management plan in place, and only a quarter of all protected areas have been judged to have ‘sound management’. Lack of funding, facilities and equipment, staff shortages and limited interaction with local communities are among the main barriers to effective management.

In order to encourage effective management and more regular assessments, IUCN is working to develop a ‘Green List’ of well-managed marine and terrestrial protected areas.

In terms of adopting more inclusive approaches to managing protected areas, the UNEP report highlights several positive trends. From 1990 to 2000, the total protected area managed by non-governmental bodies, or under co-management, increased from about 4 per cent to 23 per cent.

In the Pacific Islands, the number of locally managed marine areas has risen from 4 to 419 between 2000 and 2009.

UNEP-WCMC and partners have recently started working on a global registry of forests, wetlands, landscapes, village lakes, rivers and other habitats that are managed by local and/or indigenous communities ( The aim is to highlight case studies and successful techniques that can improve the equitable management of protected areas worldwide.


Protected areas play a vital economic role through the valuable ecosystem services they provide, such as supplying clean water to local communities and promoting eco-tourism, among others. Previous UNEP studies have shown that the overall economic benefits of protected areas greatly exceed the cost of managing them.

However, the global funding shortfall for protected areas currently runs into billions of US dollars. In Africa, for example, the effective management of 10 per cent of all ecoregions would cost around US$630 million per year, approximately double the current protected areas spending for the continent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the funding shortfall is as much as 64 per cent of the estimated annual cost for managing protected areas.

The UNEP report recommends that protected areas further develop alternative revenue streams, such as tourist fees, private sector funding, and payment for ecosystem services.

Changing current government spending practices on the environment also has significant potential for biodiversity conservation. A terrestrial protected areas system covering 17 per cent of global land area (the 2020 target), could be established and managed at a fraction of the current amount spent by governments on environmentally-harmful subsidies, according to a 2009 study.

Priority Actions

The UNEP report recommends the following key steps to ensure that the 2020 targets on protected areas can be met:

· Accelerate the strategic expansion of the protected area network, and increase coverage of ecoregions and other important biodiversity sites

· Improve understanding of the benefits of protected areas in supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services

· Expand management effective assessments of protected areas

· Strengthen involvement of local communities

· Secure sustainable funding for protected areas

· To improve data on protected areas, enhance national reporting to existing datasets, such as the World Database on Protected Areas, managed by UNEP-WCMC

COP 11 biological diversity: Namibia Praised for its Conservation of Wildlife

What a moment of celebration! At the occasion of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Hyderabad, India, the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) has honoured Namibia with the prestigious CIC Markhor Award. The Ceremony took place during the high-level segment of the Conference, which saw the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the Namibian Association of Community-Based Natural Resource Management Support Organisations (NACSO) jointly receive the award for their outstanding success in wildlife conservation.

Her Excellency, Honourable Minister of Environment and Tourism of the Republic of Namibia, Madame Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Madame Maxi Louis from NACSO received the award on behalf of the two institutions and its members. The award was handed over by the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, His Excellency, Dr. Braulio Dias, together with Tamás Marghescu, Director General of the CIC.

“It is not every day that we hear about success stories in the field of nature and wildlife conservation. As such, Namibia should serve as a prime example in terms of its innovative approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, in particular its wildlife. Sustainable hunting serves as a means to alleviate poverty and promote rural development,” said Bernard Lozé, President of the CIC.

The CIC Markhor Award recognizes and celebrates outstanding conservation performance by personalities, private and government institutions, enterprises, or conservation projects that link the conservation of biodiversity and human livelihoods through the application of the principles of sustainable use, in particular hunting, as part of wildlife and ecosystem management.

Tamás Marghescu, CIC Director General said in his introduction to the award ceremony: “In naming the winner of the 2012 CIC Markhor Award you will see that there is a very important commonality between the three prize winners of 2008, 2010 and 2012. This commonality was not a necessary requirement in order to be selected, it just happened to be a commonality and might as well be the recipe for success: it is the empowerment of the local human population to look after and to care for their own natural resources.”

The communal conservancies programme in Namibia, which began with 4 areas in 1998, now includes 76, covering almost 19 per cent of the country. Coupled with the creation of new conservancies, many species have seen their numbers increase. In the northwest Kunene Region, Hartmann's Mountain Zebra numbers have grown from approximately 1 000 in 1982 to about 27 000 today.

During the same period, estimates show that the population of the desert-adapted elephants more than quadrupled, from around 150 individuals in 1982 to 750 today. Lions in Kunene have also expanded both in range and numbers. Added to this, Namibia has the largest black rhino population in the world. “We are proud that our success story has even led to a replication of our wildlife conservation approach in many other countries,” said H.E. the Namibian Minister for Environment and Tourism at the award ceremony.

The key to this success and consequently the justification for the CIC Markhor Award is the Namibian wildlife policy, which gives the necessary leeway to the private sector including the rural communities and facilitates the sustainable use of wildlife. A game management plan is in place in the country that sees game harvested either for trophy hunting, live capture and sale, or for the distribution of meat.

Thanking the CIC for establishing and managing its Markhor Prize and highlighting that sustainable use is the second pillar of the CBD, the executive secretary, Dr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, pointed out in the Laudation of the prize winners that “income from wildlife related activities in conservancies generates employment, enriches incomes of individual community members and is used for investments in communal education and health care facilities and services. Importantly, it also provides the financing of an insurance scheme for losses suffered from human-wildlife conflicts.”

Wildlife has become a valuable asset for locals to conserve and therefore provides a strong catalyst for the recovery of wildlife in the Communal areas of Namibia. This in turn has meant poaching is now more and more considered socially unacceptable.

While there is increasing evidence that globally and in particular in Africa the wildlife is often declining, the Namibian example shows that this is not a law of nature. Good wildlife management and the creation of incentives by sustainable hunting can prevent this. Since Namibia has a suitable legislation and favourable policies, wildlife numbers have grown exponentially – on private land and in communal conservancies alike. This is reminiscent of the ‘Markhor’, a mountain goat species once threatened with extinction; the population has multiplied in recent years through the trophy hunting of the species.

Namibia has shown us, once again, that the empowerment of local human populations to look after and care for their own natural resources is conducive to the recovery of wildlife numbers and their conservation for generations to come!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

COP 11 biodiversity: The Great Indian Big Cat and Greenpeace appeal to the Indian Prime Minister at the UN Conference on Biological Diversity

Feline Voices from the Forest barred from Indian PM’s Speech
By Syed Akbar

Hyderabad, Oct 16: Today, as Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh gave his key note speech to nearly 200 world politicians and international dignitaries at the UN’s conference on biodiversity, three Greenpeace activists accompanied by ‘Tigers’ from the Central Indian forests were stopped at the door of the conference hall where the PM was making his speech.

They were there to present a petition to the PM on behalf of a quarter million people who want to save the forests from mass destruction. Greenpeace delegate and activist Brikesh Singh, who recently spent a month occupying a tree at the edge of the Tadoba – Andhari Tiger Reserve, led the ‘Tiger’ delegation to try and meet with Dr Singh. Most of civil society was excluded from the main hall and had to listen the address from an adjoining hall.

Commenting on today’s protest, Vinuta Gopal, head of Greenpeace India's Climate and Energy campaign said:

“The Prime Minister’s Office is directly involved in pushing for more coal allocations. There are news reports of 54 new coal blocks being lined up for auction, this will lead to state sponsored corporate plunder of the forests. The Indian Environment Minister recently confirmed to the Prime Minister that permits issued for coal mines in forest areas far exceed India’s requirements for the next decade. The logic behind a complete halt to additional clearances is impeccable.”

Commenting on today’s action Brikesh Singh whose protest on a tree top on the edge of a tiger reserve said:

The forests are one of the great natural resources of India. They provide homes for some of our most endangered species like the tiger, as well as for thousands of tribal people. This government should be using its powers to protect that vital natural resource instead of ripping the heart out of them for coal mining.

If this government policy of supporting forest destruction to favour big mining interests is allowed to continue, then the tiger will become the animal of myths and fairy tales for future generations.”

A Greenpeace mapping study shows that 13 coalfields in the central Indian landscape alone will destroy more than 1.1 million hectares of rich forest, impacting more than 62 villages in one region in Mahan alone.

COP 11 biodiversity: Greenpeace says India currently has less than 2% of its marine areas protected. Outside of these areas, unsustainable destructive activities—from large ports to industrial fishing are threatening India’s rich marine bounty, and the many people who depend directly on it for its livelihoods

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Octr 17:  On the eve of the high level segment meetings at the UN conference on biodiversity ( COP11) in Hyderabad that will see heads of state decide on measures to safeguard the oceans and wildlife that inhabit them, Greenpeace has gone to the sea floor to one of the most biodiverse areas of the Indian Ocean to send a message to the Indian government that they must protect the oceans and the communities whose livelihoods are dependent of the fruits of the seas.

Diving to a depth of 65 feet or nearly 20 meters just off the coast of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Greenpeace activists unfurled a banner reading: "India, Protect our oceans now".

Greenpeace chose the location because of the Andaman Islands unique marine ecosystems, and highlights what is at stake if protection measures are not taken urgently.

Commenting on India’s status on protected areas, Areeba Hamid, Oceans campaigner, Greenpeace India said, “India currently has less than 2% of its marine areas protected. Outside of these areas, unsustainable destructive activities—from large ports to industrial fishing are threatening India’s rich marine bounty, and the many people who depend directly on it for its livelihoods.”

“The proof of pudding is in the eating. If India is serious about priortising marine and coastal conservation in the country then our leaders should begin by devising comprehensive means of protecting our offshore waters. With the necessary scientific information in hand, they must then consult with communities, civil society and industry to ensure that effective but equitable measures are put in place.”

At the CBD COP10 in Japan, governments agreed on a new target on protected areas committing States to conserve 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas by 2020, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Commenting on what Greenpeace International hopes from the Indian Government as chair of the of the CBD over the next two years, Veronica Frank, campaigner, Greenpeace International said:

“At the CBD COP11, the Indian government should take a leadership role in promoting strong outcomes on oceans. India could help generate the necessary global momentum to protect the world’s oceans and the millions that depend on them for their food, health and livelihoods.”

COP 11 biodiversity: Icrisat says gro-biodiversity vital in the global fight against hunger and poverty

By Syed Akbar

Hyderabad: “Biological diversity has been and continues to be the foundation for agricultural research for food security and poverty reduction across the world,” according to Director General William Dar of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in Hyderabad, India.

With the 11th Conference of Parties (COP11) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) happening here this week, ICRISAT highlights examples illustrating the use and value of agro-biodiversity in the fight against hunger and poverty, and its impact on the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers particularly in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

A major part of ICRISAT’s 40 years of research-for-development work has much to do with generating benefits for the poor from agro-biodiversity. The ICRISAT Genebank is considered a treasure trove of genetically-diverse types of its five focus crops (pearl millet, sorghum, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut) that can be used in plant breeding to improve crop productivity and crop tolerance/resistance to diseases, insects and environmental stresses.

One example is the downy-mildew resistant pearl millet. Downy mildew is a fungal disease that thrives in moist climates and can result in massive crop damage with farmers often losing half of their yields.

ICRISAT scientists found mildew resistance in local farmer-evolved varieties from Africa and Asia, incorporating this trait in the improved varieties developed by the Institute. Without such resistance, it would have been impossible to conduct pearl millet hybrid selection.

In 1996 ICRISAT estimated that the annual benefits of the downy mildew resistant variety were worth US$50 million. Today they are far more, with a conservative estimate in India alone being almost US$200 million. This illustrates how crucial the impact of biodiversity is in terms of improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

Resistance to grain mold in sorghum is another example. Cultivated sorghum encompasses five sub-types or ‘races’, including Caudatum sorghum, a hardy and densely-packed grain landrace that emerged from farmer selection in Eastern Africa.

High-yielding Caudatum varieties of sorghum can become moldy when rains are unusually frequent, causing 30-100% yield losses, lower market value and even health hazards such as aflatoxin contamination in humans that consume them. In 1992 ICRISAT estimated the annual economic losses in Asia and Africa as US$130 million. Moderately-resistant land races were found, while Guinea sorghum races are inherently resistant, enabling the production of grain mold tolerant hybrids, recently released in India.

Early-maturing groundnut is greatly appreciated by poor farmers worldwide. It enables them to harvest food and receive income sooner, and to escape many droughts. The groundnut line most utilized in breeding this trait, ‘Chico’, has contributed earliness to cultivars released across Africa and Asia such as ICGV 91114, now having major impact in Anantapur district, India – the largest groundnut growing district in the world; and Nyanda (ICGV 93437), cultivated on about 50,000 hectares in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa.

Early-maturing chickpeas are having a major impact in Ethiopia, India and Myanmar. Benefits to Ethiopia alone over the period 2001-2030 are projected to be worth US$111 million. The land area sown to chickpea in Myanmar, and also the grain yields per unit land area both doubled during 2001-2009. In Andhra Pradesh state, India, the early-maturing varieties stimulated a five-fold increase in sown area plus a 2.4-fold increase in yield over the same period.

ICRISAT and partners have also utilized Cajanus cajanifolus, a wild relative species of pigeonpea, to develop the world’s first hybrid seed system for any grain legume crop, with an average 30% higher grain yield than the best available local variety. This will have enormous impact and help restore India’s grain legume self-sufficiency, as these hybrids are widely disseminated to farmers.

These are just a glimpse of what impact biological diversity has in the fight against poverty and hunger. Research innovations in molecular biology and genetics will certainly improve and quicken the study of these biological resources.

Dr Dar calls on every nation to recognize the global economic benefits of biodiversity and highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, making conservation and use at the center of their development agenda.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

COP 11 biodiversity: CBD Alliance: Looking beyond Hyderabad Biodiversity Summit

Let’s Get Beyond the Hyderabad Blues
Civil Society groups urge implementation of the Biodiversity Convention at COP11, Hyderabad, India

Hyderabad: Civil society, NGOs, and grassroots environmental groups belonging to the  CBD Alliance sent a strong message to the delegates gathered in Hyderabad for the 11th Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity:  focus on getting things done, and implement the treaty.

“The CBD process should bring sharp focus on implementation of the commitments made by governments over the past 20 years”, said S. Faizi, of the Indian Biodiversity Forum. “COP10 in Nagoya moved the biodiversity agenda significantly forward.   We have a new set of 20 targets, and only 8 years to achieve them.  COP11 doesn’t need to generate another stack of documents, and hold endless meetings.  We actuallyknow what needs to be done.”

Simone Lovera, Executive Director of the Global Forest Coalition, said:  “We’ve seen how the lack of funding, has frustrated the implementation of COP decisions and led to donor and corporate interests unduly influencing biodiversity policy making.  This is evident in the promotion of risky and untested Innovative Financial Mechanisms."

"We reject corporate-driven agendas to promote‘bioeconomy’ and the financialization of nature through perverse incentives like subsidies for biofuels, dangerous experiments in synthetic biology, genetically modified trees and geo-engineering”, added Lovera.

Gunn-Britt Retter of the Saami Council said:   “The importance of forest and agricultural biodiversity to the survival of indigenous peoples cannot be over emphasized.  Our food security, health and economic wellbeing have a direct relationship with our forest and agricultural biodiversity. The current emphasis on economic growth as a solution to the global economic crisis has affected indigenous peoples in far greater and disproportionate ways”.

“In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, small is beautiful.  We urge governments gathered in Hyderabad to support the biodiverse food systems of indigenous peoples and small farmers, which have been providing food for our peoples for millennia”, said Retter.

Marine and coastal biodiversity is a priority focus area of COP11, and the theme of International Year of Biodiversity 2012.   RamyaRajagopalanof the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, said: 
“The serious threats to our oceans and coasts are well known.   Indigenous peoples and local communities are at the forefront of the struggles and initiatives to protect coastal and marine resources.  Yet, in the name of conservation and development, their lives and livelihoods are being destroyed.  Their full and effective participation is essential. Their experience, wisdom, knowledge and institutions should guide the CBD in its actions”. 

COP 11 biodiversity - The death of vultures in South Asia


Over the last 20 years, South Asia’s vultures have declined precipitously. The Oriental white-backed vulture, the long-billed vulture, and the slender-billed vulture once numbered in the tens of millions.

These three species have now been reduced by 99 per cent. All three are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and face imminent extinction.  The decline in vultures has been caused by diclofenac, a veterinary drug which is ingested by the birds when eating the carcasses of recently-treated animals.

Research has shown that eating even a very small amount of this drug can lead to death in Gyps species.

The loss of the vultures means the loss of a critically important ecosystem service. Animal carcasses are now being left to rot, leading to an enormous waste disposal problem and to a number of health concerns.

Feral dogs, dog attacks and the risk of rabies have all increased. Other impacts include groundwater contamination and loss of income for farmers, whose fields can become unusable for up to three weeks as a result of rotting carcasses.

The loss of vultures has also had severe social impacts on some communities, such as the Parsis, who traditionally offered their dead to the vultures in “Towers of Silence”, and the Jains, whose “Panjrapores” also relied on vultures.

COP 11: World Wide Views on Biodiversity: What the world thinks of biodiversity conservation

World Wide Views on Biodiversity (WWViews on Biodiversity) is a globe-encompassing democratic deliberation on biodiversity. On September 15, 2012, it gathered citizen views on international biodiversity policy issues and disseminated them to policymakers involved in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The 3,000 participating citizens from 25 countries were selected to reflect the demographic diversity in their respective countries and regions. They were provided with unbiased information about biodiversity and the international discussions about policy measures to stop its decline, and they were given time to deliberate with fellow citizens.

Here are the results of WWViews in a nutshell:

1. Most citizens worldwide do have some knowledge of biodiversity
2. Citizens think most people in the world are seriously affected by biodiversity loss and more participants from developing countries than developed think that their country is so
3. Citizens worldwide are very concerned about the loss of biodiversity
4. The establishment of new protected areas should be given higher priority than economic aims
5. Efforts should be made to protect nature areas 
6. Eat less meat and intensify agricultural production
7. Incentives and subsidies leading to overfishing should be phased out
8. Protection of coral reefs is a shared responsibility
9. More protected areas should be established in the High Seas
10. All countries should pay for protecting biodiversity in developing countries
11. Benefit sharing should apply to genetic resources already collected
12. Use of genetic resources from the High Seas should benefit biodiversity

COP 11: Marine protected areas: Why local communities matter?


Faced with denial of their livelihoods in marine protected areas (MPAs), local fishing communities across the world have often opposed MPAs. Yet, indigenous peoples and local fishing communities are also known to have evolved effective systems, traditional and more recent, to govern their resources.

They are also known to be in the forefront of struggles that have challenged destructive and polluting developmental activities on the coast—struggles that have often cost them their lives but have undoubtedly helped in protecting marine and coastal biodiversity in significant ways.

Studies commissioned by ICSF in twelve countries—Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Thailand, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama—capture stories of of conflicts with MPA authorities and violations of the rights of local communities, but also stories of community-led efforts to conserve and manage fisheries resources. They demonstrate that communities are in fact part of the solution.

As governments and conservation organizations seek to expand coverage of areas under MPAs to meet the Aichi targets, of bringing 10 per cent of marine and coastal areas under a protected area system by 2020, they would do well to learn from such stories, to ensure that their efforts meet with ecological success in the longer-term, and contribute as well to poverty alleviation and socio-cultural and livelihood security.

All about diabetes - how to prevent this major health risk

Prevent Diabetes

Research studies have found that moderate weight loss and exercise can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes among adults at high-risk of diabetes.
Find out more about the risk factors for type 2 diabetes, what it means to have prediabetes, and what you can do to prevent or delay diabetes

When should I be tested for diabetes?

Anyone aged 45 years or older should consider getting tested for diabetes, especially if you are overweight. If you are younger than 45, but are overweight and have one or more additional risk factors, you should consider getting tested.
What are the risk factors which increase the likelihood of developing diabetes?
Family Walking
Being overweight or obese.
Having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
Being African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino heritage.
Having a prior history of gestational diabetes or birth of at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
Having high blood pressure measuring 140/90 or higher.
Having abnormal cholesterol with HDL ("good") cholesterol is 35 or lower, or triglyceride level is 250 or higher.
Being physically inactive—exercising fewer than three times a week.
How does body weight affect the likelihood of developing diabetes?
Being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Being overweight can keep your body from making and using insulin properly, and can also cause high blood pressure. The Diabetes Prevention Program, a major federally funded study of 3,234 people at high risk for diabetes in the USA, showed that moderate diet and exercise of about 30 minutes or more, 5 or more days per week, or of 150 or more minutes per week, resulting in a 5% to 7% weight loss can delay and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes.
What is prediabetes?
People with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range have "prediabetes." Doctors sometimes call this condition impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), depending on the test used to diagnose it. Insulin resistance and prediabetes usually have no symptoms. You may have one or both conditions for several years without noticing anything.
If you have prediabetes, you have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In additon, people with prediabetes also have a higher risk of heart disease.
Progression to diabetes among those with prediabetes is not inevitable. Studies suggest that weight loss and increased physical activity among people with prediabetes prevent or delay diabetes and may return blood glucose levels to normal.
Can vaccines prevent diabetes?

No. Carefully performed scientific studies show that vaccines do not cause diabetes or increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes. In 2002, the Institute of Medicine reviewed the existing studies and released a report concluding that the scientific evidence favors rejection of the theory that immunizations cause diabetes. The only evidence suggesting a relationship between vaccination and diabetes comes from Dr. John B. Classen, who has suggested that certain vaccines if given at birth may decrease the occurrence of diabetes, whereas if initial vaccination is performed after 2 months of age the occurrence of diabetes increases. Dr. Classen's studies have a number of limitations and have not been verified by other researchers.

The truth about fat: Visceral fat levels are more harmful than potbellies

It may not be just fat that raises the risk of diabetes; it may be which fat.
At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, researchers looked at about seven years of data on 732 obese people.
The researchers compared visceral fat – the kind around organs – with other fat that creates, for instance, potbellies.
Researcher Ian Neeland found no additional risk with other fat. But he says:
“People in the highest third of visceral fat had over three times greater likelihood of getting diabetes than people in the bottom third.”
You can’t see visceral fat levels without expensive imaging, so Neeland advises controlling fat all over.

Monday, October 8, 2012

COP 11 Biodiversity: Amina Mohamed, UN Assistant Secretary-General calls for protection of biodiversity and reduction of biodiversity loss

Speech delivered by
Ms. Amina Mohamed, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UNEP
To the Eleventh Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
Hyderabad, India 8-19 October 2012 

Your Excellency, Minister of State Environment and Forests, Government of India, H.E Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
It is a great pleasure to be here in Hyderabad on this occasion of the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD and we are greatly honored by your presence here today. 
I wish to extend to you, your Excellency, your Government and the people of India our deep thanks for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to us since our arrival in this beautiful and historic city of Hyderabad. 
At the outset, I would also like to take this opport! unity to congratulate the new CBD Executive Secretary, Mr. Braulio Ferr! eira De Souza Dias for accepting the offer to join the CBD Secretariat. I wish also to acknowledge the contribution of the outgoing Executive Secretary, Mr. Ahmed Djoghlaf in enhancing the work of the Convention. 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This meeting comes at an opportune and historic moment when the international community just renewed its commitments for sustainable development at the Rio+20 Summit.
Heads of States and nations recognized the crucial role of biodiversity in ensuring sustainable development. In addition, States recognized the need for cooperation in global partnership to protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystems.
Rio+20 has launched the world on some new and potentially defining pathways for achieving a sustainable century—the inclusive Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. 

At the heart of many of the challenges in respect to biodiversity and ecosystems are the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.
In celebrating the CBD 20th anniversary and may I in this respect also mention that it is UNEP’s 40th anniversary year, we note many achievements.
But we know that there is still a tremendous amount of work to do.
In advance of Rio+20, UNEP launched its flagsh! ip Global Environment Outlook-5 which benefited from many inputs from t! he CBD and the biodiversity community at large.
GEO-5 concluded that of 90 key agreed international sustainability targets, only four had been met.
In respect to biodiversity GEO-5 says:-
The world failed to reach the target of a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. This meant that:-
Around 20 per cent of vertebrate species ar! e under threat.
The extinction risk is increasing faster for corals than for any other group of living organisms, with the condition of coral reefs declining by 38 per cent since 1980. Rapid contraction is projected by 2050.
With more than 30 per cent of the Earth's land surface used for agricultural production, some natural habitats have been shrinking by more than 20 per cent since the 1980s.
How! ever, there has been some progress in terms of policy responses, such as increasing the coverage of protected areas both land and to a lesser extent marine.
The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing of genetic resources is another in where progress has been made. In this regard, I would encourage countries to ratify the Protocol as soon as possible to enable its entry into force.
So there are pluses but far too many negatives—many of which are well known and well documented.
But so are the solutions—the outcome of Rio+20 gives us renewed opportunity to achieve the objectives of the convention. The biodiversity and ecosystem community can be rightly proud of the way it has helped fuel that creative discourse not least through The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity and the work on realizing an Intergovernmental Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
The TEEB work in particular is assisting in informing the debate here in Hyderabad on the kind of funding that will be necessary to achieve the CBD’s 2020 Aichi targets.
There are ranges on the table which to some, in parts of the world still undergoing an on- going economic and financial crisis, may seem high.
But our collective experience and the new analysis through initiatives such as TEEB and others have illuminated that the costs of inaction are far higher and will rise and that the losses the world—especially the poor—are sustaining annually as a result of unsustainable management of the natural world dwarf the investments.
Furthermore, the private sector has a responsibility and a role to play too within the rules and regulations put in place by governments to ensure equity for all sectors of society.
I would be keen to explore with the CBD Executive Secretary and his team, ever improving synergies between the inclusive Green Economy work and the TEEB work and that of the treaty, in particular at the national level. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
UNEP support to CBD 
Programatic collaboration and cooperation
UNEP and the CBD Secretariat have identified areas for enhanced programmatic collaboration and cooperation in the context of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi biodiversity targets.
At the regional and national levels UNEP has deployed Biodiversity Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) focal points in UNEP’s Regional Offices for Africa (Nairobi), Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok), West Asia (Manama), and Latin America and the Caribbean (Panama).
Their task is to enhance implementation of CBD and other bi! odiversity related Conventions and bodies including the Convention on Migratory Species, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species; the wetlands treaty RAMSAR and (CMS, CITES, Ramsar, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources and the World Heritage Committee.
Enhancing the capacity of African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries
Since 2009, the African Caribbean and Pacific-MEAs project, funded by the European Union, have been building the capacity of ACP countries to better comply with their environmental obligations under selected MEAs.
One of the objectives of the Programme is to build and enhance capacity of ACP countries to better comply with, implement and enforce MEAs and related commitments to address the loss of biodiversity, drought, land degradation, and other threats to the environment. This is in line wi! th the realization of the three main objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Some of the results reached to date include the improvement of national and regional capacity of ACP countries. Compliance with, implementation of and enforcement of Parties obligations under the CBD have been improved as confirmed by the ACP countries themselves.   

Nagoya Protocol on ABS
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Last but not least, I wish to reiterate the call to all Parties to step up effort for the early ratification of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing—the Protocol’s go-ahead in Nagoya was really one of the high points of 2010 and that momentum and optimism needs to be maintained.
Equally ambition to support the ratification of the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
Both are important parts of the jigsaw puzzle towards ! promoting better sustainable use of genetic resources with equity and safety while being critical towards achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
Honorable delegates, ladies and gentlemen, only time will tell if Rio+20 proves to be a game-changer in humanity’s relationship with the natural world and those essential, multi-trillion dollar services that maintain and support us all.
In order for the outcomes to flourish and to take meaning, all segments of the sustainable development landscape need to perform and to deliver on their part of the package, on their areas of responsibility.
I trust that the CBD’s 11th meeting of the parties will be part of that transformation to the Future We Want and the Future seven billion people need.