Saturday, October 6, 2012

COP11: UN biodiversity meeting on progress made and challenges to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 - 2020


Hyderabad:  Governments are meeting in Hyderabad, India, from 8 to 19 October 2012, at the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity to agree on the next steps in support of implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, agreed at COP 10 in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.
The Strategic Plan, a ten-year framework for action in support of implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, have been established as the overall framework for biodiversity work in the United Nations system. In line with their commitments in Nagoya, countries have been updating their national biodiversity strategies and action plans to achieve the Aichi Targets.
COP 11 is expected to review progress so far and to produce decisions that will provide further momentum for implementation of the targets.
The mobilization of resources for action on the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets will be at the top of the agenda.  Drawing upon several reports and extensive preparatory consultations, including a recent high-level panel on financing convened by India and the United Kingdom, governments will agree on targets for the mobilization of financial resources, as well as on the baseline and a framework for reporting.
The status of biodiversity in the world’s oceans will also be highlighted.  A report on ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) will be presented.  The report, the product of two year’s work by scientific experts, provides a scientifically rigorous assessment of the status of biodiversity in these areas.  Discussions on various other threats to marine biodiversity will also take place, including ocean acidification, marine debris, coral bleaching and underwater noise, and will feed into the broader international work on oceans, including the recent Rio+20 outcome and the UN Oceans Compact.
Measures to support restoration of up to 15% of degraded ecosystems, one of the Aichi Targets, will also be under discussion.  In the context of climate change and food security, the restoration target is of central importance to sustainable development, contributing to the well-being of people around the world.
Governments will also hold discussions addressing the way forward in preparation for the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, adopted in 2010.  Six of the 50 ratifications required for the entry into force have been deposited with the United Nations to date, with more expected before the end of the year.
“Two years ago, in Nagoya, the world set the framework for action to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  “Since then, we have seen significant progress around the world.  This is encouraging, but we know that we need to do more in order to realize the ambitions of the Strategic Plan and to achieve the Aichi Targets.  This will be challenging, as it involves short-term costs.  However, the environmental social and economic benefits will be realized in the long term.  Most of the time, this will simply mean spending existing resources in a different way.”
He said “The awareness and understanding of the contribution of biodiversity in sustaining human well-being, and indeed in supporting production in our economies is a key to stop the loss of biodiversity.  To address this, COP 11 will specifically strengthen its engagement with multiple stakeholders, including local governments, civil society and the private sector. We need biodiversity to be discussed not as a problem but as a solution to the challenges facing the world.”
A Summit of cities and local authorities – Cities for Life, will run in parallel on 15 and 16 October.  The Summit will include new commitments by local governments to implementation of the Strategic Plan.  A ground breaking report on Cities and Biodiversity will also be released on the 16th.
Similarly, island states from around the world will also convene a summit to discuss new commitments in support of island biodiversity, and to celebrate “bright spots” – examples of conservation success from around the world.
COP 11 comes just two years into the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, which is dedicated to the implementation of our global strategy for biodiversity.  During the meeting, a Heads of Agencies meeting in support of the Decade will be convened, where key institutions and international organizations will discuss their commitments in support of the biodiversity agenda.
Over 160 countries are expected to participate in the meeting, which takes place at the Hyderabad International Conference Centre.
A ministerial segment is planned from 16 to 19 October 2012, where heads of State and ministers of environment will engage in discussions related to the key themes of the Conference.

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