Thursday, November 4, 2010

Slow progress in UN biodiversity talks—green groups

UN talks aimed at brokering a deal to protect the
world's diminishing natural resources have made little progress, green
groups said ahead of the summit's crucial second phase starting

The 12 days of negotiations in the central Japanese city of Nagoya are
aimed at securing agreement on how to stop the rapid loss of the
world's plant and animal species, as well as their habitats.

But after the first week environment groups said the conference was
becoming bogged down in the same kind of acrimony between developed
and developing nations that have plagued UN climate change

"What we need to see is a global alliance to protect life on earth but
what we have seen so far are alarming divisions and a hardening of
positions," WWF international director general Jim Leape said.

In a best-case scenario, the negotiations would wrap up on Friday with
a set of agreed targets for slowing the dramatic rate of biodiversity
loss by 2020.

There would also be a deal on how developed countries would provide
poor ones with funding to protect the world's natural habitats, plus
an agreement on how to equitably share genetic resources.

However, the WWF and other environment groups monitoring the event
said rich and poor nations were at loggerheads over many aspects of
the potential agreement.

In one crucial stand-off, Brazil was insisting there would be no
overarching deal unless there was agreement on how to share the
benefits of genetic resources such as wild plants from forests that
are used to make medicines.

Developing countries, which have most of these genetic riches, want an
"equitable share" of the profits Western companies enjoy from the
natural resources.

Some of the sticking points on this issue are determining exactly
which resources would be included and whether a potential agreement
would be retroactive.

Greenpeace policy advisor Nathalie Rey said the negotiations were in
danger of heading the same way as climate change talks in Copenhagen
last year, when world leaders failed to secure a binding agreement to
tackle global warming.

"The world can't afford another Copenhagen," Rey, who is in Nagoya, told AFP.

But the European delegation insisted there had been some progress and
that a deal could be achieved in Nagoya.

"There are some outstanding issues but... we are seeing movement
forward," Karl Falkenberg, the European Commission's director general
of the environment, told reporters.

"For the moment I am satisfied with the progress, I would have wished
for it to be faster... but we hope we can still conclude negotiations

There are also hopes the talks will pick up steam when environment
ministers arrive in Nagoya this week and take over from their advisers
for the final three days of the summit.

On the opening day of the talks last Monday, delegates from the 193
members of the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) were told
that a meaningful deal in Nagoya was crucial to save the world's

"Business as usual is no more an option when it comes to life on
Earth," CBD executive secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf said in his opening

"We need a new approach, we need to reconnect with nature and live in
harmony with nature."

Delegates were told human population pressures were wiping out
ecosystems such as tropical forests and coral reefs, killing off
animal and plant species that form the web of life on which humanity

"This meeting is part of the world's efforts to address a very simple
fact. We are destroying life on Earth," said the UN Environment
Program's executive director, Achim Steiner.


Post a Comment