Hyderabad, India - As the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) draws to a close in Hyderabad, India, Conservation International welcomes the meaningful advancement made by countries towards protecting Earth’s biodiversity – the renewable natural capital that is vital for the continued wellbeing of humanity – but warns that much more should be done this decade to stem the rapid loss of biological diversity.
Parties set a financing target that doubles current international financial flows from developed to developing countries by 2015. That same level of investment will be maintained until 2020.
Lina Barrera, Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Policy at Conservation International, said:“While we praise the good intentions and cooperation that went into reaching this agreement and we are encouraged by the positive momentum towards achieving the Aichi Targets, we do have concerns about what the investment levels will actually be and whether or not they will be sufficient given the scale of resources needed to protecting Earth’s biodiversity.”
“The total required is in the order of hundreds of billions of dollars, but we estimate that, from public sources, it will require only average annual increases of US$12 billion in international aid and US$ 48 billion in domestic budgets from all countries for biodiversity between now and 2020,” she said.
Dr. Russell Mittermeier, President of Conservation International, said: “Among the developments that we see as most hopeful is the deepening sense of alignment between the sustainable development and biodiversity agendas. It is crucial to recognize that the long-term sustainability of economic development is contingent on valuing and accounting for natural capital in national planning.”
This principle was endorsed by the ten African nations to sign the Gaborone Declaration at the Summit for Sustainability in Africa that Conservation International co-hosted with Government of Botswana in May. More than 50 countries and 86 companies showed support for the concept of natural capital accounting at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June. In Hyderabad at COP 11, the United Nations Development Programme has come out strongly in support of the Aichi Targets. “We are seeing widespread recognition that renewable natural capital must be central to future development planning. This is a solid step in the right direction,” Mittermeier said.
He added: “The progress witnessed here is valuable, but much more is certainly needed. The next conference, scheduled for Korea in 2014, will occur almost halfway through the UN Decade of Biodiversity, and the situation facing our planet has never been more urgent. The need for the world’s nations to come together to implement the Aichi Targets grows more pressing with widespread extinction increasing every year.”
Barrera concluded: “If we do not invest in nature now, the cost will be tremendous in terms of the loss of our global biodiversity and the vital ecosystem services it provides for humanity. If we rise to the challenge and protect nature, the benefits will be profound in terms of food security, human health, the provision of clean air and water, local livelihoods, economic development, and poverty reduction. We need continued and concerted action in order to protect the planet that provides for us all.”
The outstanding leadership of the CBD Executive Secretary, Dr. Braulio Dias Souza, and host country India at COP 11 is especially deserving of note. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s announcement that India is earmarking US $50 million for the protection of biodiversity is welcome as a significant contribution to conservation from a developing nation and as a sign to all countries that we must invest in renewable natural capital. India also ratified the Nagoya protocol, becoming the seventh country to do so.
“We look forward to Dr. Dias’s continuing leadership and India’s presidency of the CBD and their commitment to protecting their renewable natural capital, particularly in the country’s four Biodiversity Hotspots,” said Mittermeier.
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Conservation International - Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature and its global biodiversity to promote the long-term well-being of people. Founded in 1987 and marking its 25th anniversary in 2012, CI is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area. CI employs 900 staff in nearly 30 countries on four continents and works with more than 1,000 partners around the world. For more information, please see www.conservation.org/cbd2012
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