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

North-South Divide Again Clouds Biodiversity Talks


By Stephen Leahy

NAGOYA, Japan, Oct 19, 2010 (IPS)

The accelerating destruction of natural habitats will take millions of years to recover from, scientists have warned.

This may be the last chance to apply the brakes, Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme, reminded delegates representing the 193 member countries of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

“This meeting is being held to address a very simple fact: we are destroying life on this Earth,” Steiner said at the opening plenary meeting Monday. “It is absolutely essential that nations work together here.”

Ryu Matsumoto, Japan’s environment minister, warned that the world was about to reach a threshold where the loss of biodiversity would become irreversible.

“We’re now close to a tipping point on biodiversity,” he said. “We may cross that in the next 10 years.”

With 16,000 participants, the Oct. 18-29 gathering is by far the biggest international meeting on biodiversity. The term biodiversity refers to the variety of plants, animals and other species that provide a wide range of services to humanity.

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