Environmental Destruction Makes Money. Conservation Costs Money. This Global Dilemma Must Be Solved

Rich Countries Balk At Spending $ to Halt Biodiversity Crisis

By Stephen Leahy

NAIROBI, May 31, 2010 (IPS)

Developing countries rich in plants and animals but poor in financial and technical resources refused to make binding commitments to halt the unraveling of the planet’s biological infrastructure at the close of a major meeting Friday at the U.N.’s African headquarters in Nairobi.

For their part, rich countries balked at a 50-fold increase in funding to support efforts to slow and reverse the loss of species and ecosystems.

“Anything to do with finance has been a big problem here at this meeting,” said James Seyani, a delegate from Malawi and spokesperson for the African countries.

It takes money to protect, conserve and enhance biodiversity – the term for all living things that make up Earth’s ecosystems that are our life support system. Exploitation and destruction of vital ecosystems like forests and peatlands generates millions of dollars in revenue, but conserving or using these lands in ways that preserves biodiversity often costs governments money.

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Reversing the declines in biodiversity is a matter of great urgency and countries with much of the world’s remaining species and intact ecosystems “are prepared to meet their commitments but we need the technical, human and financial resources to do this”, the delegate from Mexico said at the conclusion of the meeting that began May 10.

The absence of such resources is why biodiversity is in its current crisis, he said.

“The developing world needs to remember their previous commitments and provide new additional finances and resources. Those promises are not being adhered to,” Seyani told delegates late Friday afternoon at the end of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) meeting to establish targets and an action plan to end the biodiversity crisis over the next decade. Continue reading