UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020
The United Nations General Assembly declared the period 2011-2020 to be “the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity,with a view of:
a) raising global awareness about biodiversity,
b) its value to human well-being and
c) the ways that individuals and societies can change their behaviour to become more sustainable.6
The United Nations Decade on Biodiversity will build on the achievements of the celebration of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.
“We have all heard of the web of life. We risk trapping ourselves in a web of death. The United Nations Decade on Biodiversity is an opportunity to reverse this trend.”
(UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon)The Decade will be a vehicle to support and promote implementation of the objectives of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.7 The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets were accepted at the 10th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held in Nagoya (Japan). Another important outcome of the 10th COP was the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. [See end of article for notes on Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Nagoya Protocol]
India has offered to host the 11th Conference of Parties on the CBD in 2012 (October). Marine Biodiversity is the theme of the 2012 summit.5
2012 will be a very important year for the international green community as it will mark the 20th anniversary of the:
1. Rio Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit);
2. Adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) and;
3. the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The 11th COP summit will also include a review of the post-2010 biodiversity conservation targets, the revised strategic plan of the UNCBD, and the international agreement on access and benefit-sharing (Nagoya Protocol).
India is among the 17 mega-diverse countries that are custodian of 70 per cent of the world’s biodiversity. It is home to the three of the 34 “global biodiversity hotspots”- Western Ghats, Eastern Himalayas, and Indo-Burma.Biodiversity hotspots are biologically rich areas facing severe conservation threats.
India’s biodiversity is of immense economic, ecological, social and cultural value and its potential future value is far greater. The ecosystem services from the forested watersheds of two major mountain chains -- the Himalayas and the Western Ghats -- indirectly support several million people and non-timber forest products alone have been estimated to be worth $200 million a year.
Then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh noted that reverence for biodiversity is deeply embedded in Indian culture, tradition and ethos which embody the timeless Sanskrit saying “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (“Earth is one family”).
- Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
- CBD is an international treaty for the:
o conservation of biodiversity,
o the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and
o the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources.
- With 193 Parties, the Convention has near universal participation among countries.
- The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services (including climate change), through
o scientific assessments,
o the transfer of technologies and
o active involvement of all relevant stakeholders including local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community.
- Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a supplementary treaty to the Convention, seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. 159 countries and the European Union have ratified the Protocol (as of July 2011).
Aichi Biodiversity Targets 4: comprise a set of 20 targets, organized under 5 strategic goals, to be achieved from 2011-2020.
Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society
Target: By 2020, biodiversity values should be integrated into national and local development, poverty reduction strategies, planning and accounting processes.
Goal B: Reduce pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use
Target: By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero.
Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity
Target: By 2020 the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented.
Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services
Target: By 2015, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization is in force and operational, consistent with national legislation.
Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building
Target: By 2020, knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity are improved, widely shared and applied.
Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing 8
- a protocol to the CBD adopted at the 10th COP in Nagoya (Japan)
- full name: Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources is one of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.