Blame Canada: Seeks to Drop Native Peoples from New Biodiversity Pact

Awarding Winner Poster - CBD COP 10 Nagoya - Copyright Stephen Leahy

By Stephen Leahy

NAGOYA, Japan, Oct 21, 2010 (IPS)

Blame Canada if countries fail to agree to a new binding treaty to curb the rapid loss of plant, animal and species that form the intricate web of life that sustains humanity.

That is the view of indigenous representatives from Canada in response to a late night move by the Canadian delegation to strike a reference to indigenous peoples’ rights at the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) members’ conference here.

“Canada is stalling progress here, weakening our rights and fighting against a legally-binding protocol on access and benefit sharing,” said Armand MacKenzie, executive director of the Innu Council of Nitassinan, the indigenous inhabitants in northeastern Canada.

“Their opposition threatens global biodiversity… people need to speak out,” MacKenzie told IPS.

A protocol on access and benefit sharing (ABS) without a guarantee of the rights of indigenous people and local communities “would be totally void”, said Paulino Franco de Carvalho, head of the Brazilian delegation.

“Brazil will not accept any agreement on biodiversity without a fair ABS protocol…. We are not bluffing on that, I must be very clear,” Franco de Carvalho said in a press conference.

Is this article of interest? It exists thanks to contributions from readers. Please click here to learn more about Community Supported Journalism. Continue reading

Biodiversity at the Cliff’s Edge – Nature’s ‘Free Services’ In Sharp Decline

By Stephen Leahy*

NAGOYA, Japan, Oct 18, 2010 (Tierramérica)

What nature gives us is often taken for granted, but if its basic elements disappear, human life on Earth would not be possible. The mission of the biodiversity summit under way in Nagoya is to reverse the headlong rush towards the precipice.

The 10th Conference of Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Oct. 18-29 in this southern Japanese city, seeks to create a new set of international agreements to halve the rate of loss of natural habitat, end overfishing, achieve zero net deforestation, eliminate harmful subsidies, and ensure that agriculture is sustainable by 2020, among other goals.

Without a successful meeting in Nagoya, achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be impossible, Janez Potočnik, of the European Union’s Commission for the Environment, told a high-level UN meeting last month in New York.

“Biodiversity” is term used to describe the wide variety of the living things that comprise the planet’s biological infrastructure and provide us with health, wealth, food, water, fuel and other vital services.

Many people fail to understand how dependent humanity is on the many natural services provided by nature, says Hal Mooney, an environmental biologist at Stanford University, in California.

“Those services are considered ‘free’ and not valued under the current economic structures,” Mooney told Tierramérica.

Is this article of interest? It exists thanks to contributions from readers. Please click here to learn more about Community Supported Journalism.

via Biodiversity at the Cliff’s Edge – IPS ipsnews.net.

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.

Do you find this article interesting? It is funded by contributions from readers. Please click here to learn more about Community Supported Journalism.

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