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. 

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