-The GJEP Team
Conference Adopts Binding Decisions Against Biopiracy and Geo-engineering
by Global Forest Coalition www.globalforestcoalition.org
1 November 2010 – The Global Forest Coalition congratulates Southern countries on their success in reaching a legally binding agreement to equitably share the benefits of genetic resources at the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan.
The conference, which was baptized as a ‘re-birth of environmental multilateralism’ after the failed climate talks in Copenhagen, also adopted a strategic plan with concrete targets to reduce biodiversity loss, restore 15% of the world’s degraded areas and significantly increase the financial contribution of donor countries to biodiversity conservation.
Negotiations were stalled for most of last week when it was clear Canada and the EU did not want to agree on a strong and legally binding protocol and strong commitments to provide financial resources to conserve biodiversity.
The conference was marked by a significant divide between developing countries and industrialized counties over market-based and other pro-business approaches to biodiversity. While the EU and other Northern countries pushed for market-based mechanisms, including as a financial resource for biodiversity conservation, many Southern countries pointed at the serious environmental and social risks of these mechanisms, and proposed strong policies and measures instead.
As a result of this opposition, references to risky innovative financial mechanisms like the Green Development Mechanism were removed from the final outcomes of the conference.
Southern countries also expressed strong concern about the potential impact of climate change mitigation measures like monoculture tree plantations, REDD+ and bio-energy on biodiversity and the rights and needs of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. As a result, the conference adopted a world-wide moratorium on geo-engineering, including large-scale biochar and other forms of large-scale carbon sequestration by tree plantations.
The Conference calls upon countries to prevent negative impacts of other climate changes mitigation measures like bio-energy and REDD+, on biodiversity and people. The meeting also urges governments to be precautious with the use of the synthetic biology or invasive alien species like eucalypt for bio-energy production.
“It is clear that Southern countries are increasingly concerned about the commodification of nature through market-based approaches like carbon markets and the potential impacts of these markets on Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women” says Simone Lovera, Executive Director of the Global Forest Coalition.
“We are happy that, in the end, the EU and other Northern countries realized that the survival of our planet’s biodiversity is of fundamental importance for the survival of mankind and thus needed to be prioritized over the interests of pharmaceutical companies and carbon traders”.