Ecosystem restoration and relationship between biodiversity and climate change to be discussed

The difficult task of mobilising financial resources for achieving biodiversity targets expeditiously became the running theme at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), represented by over 170 countries, which began here on Monday.

Union Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who assumed charge as president of COP-11 for the next two years, set the tone for the meeting and said resource mobilisation was the most important unfinished agenda that was inherited from COP-10. While adopting the ambitious Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-20, the previous COP at Nagoya, Japan, could not agree on targets for funding as the means to achieve biodiversity targets.

Apart from mobilisation of resources, a report on the identification of ecologically and biologically significant areas in marine ecosystems, ecosystem restoration and relationship between biodiversity and climate change are some of other themes to be discussed by the parties (countries) during the next 11 days. CBD officials said that over 14,400 participants have enrolled for the conference, making it one of the largest biodiversity gatherings ever.

“The present global economic crisis should not deter us, but encourage us to invest more towards amelioration of the natural capital for ensuring uninterrupted ecosystem services, on which all life on earth depends,” Ms. Natarajan said.

It was a time of reckoning for countries when another opportunity had been provided for parties to commit resources to infuse confidence and generate momentum for implementation of the Aichi biodiversity targets on reducing biodiversity loss. “If this chance is missed it will be collective failure, making it impossible to achieve these targets,” said Ms. Natarajan.

She said India was making meaningful contributions to the deliberations of Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources with the experience the country had gained in implementation of these concepts.

The Union government has already approved the ratification of this Protocol and the process of depositing the instrument of ratification would be completed soon.

The former Minister of Environment of Japan, Ryu Matsumoto, who served as COP-10 president, hoped that the parties would agree on further measures to overcome challenges in realising the goals. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said India had a long cultural tradition of frugality and living in harmony with nature. “The conservation ethos is deeply ingrained in our people,” he said.

Executive secretary of the CBD Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias said that in the two years since COP-10, a total of 10 parties had reviewed their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans in line with the Strategic Plan. This Plan, along with Aichi targets, would be central to “our actions in this decade and I urge you to mobilise financial resources needed to enable developing countries to achieve these targets at national level,” said Mr. Dias.