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Note: Global Justice Ecology Project is a member of the CBD Alliance

Seeking ‘Biodiversity Justice’

Civil Society Releases Top 10 Concerns at UN Convention on Biological Diversity

Nagoya, October 13, 2010.

The CBD Alliance (Convention on Biological Diversity Alliance) has released a briefing highlighting ten of civil society’s most pressing concerns to be discussed at the upcoming 10th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.   Almost all of the world’s governments will gather in Nagoya, Japan to debate, negotiate, and hopefully take decisive action for life – both human and non-human – on earth.

The media briefings, which can be viewed and downloaded at https://undercovercop.org/top-10-for-cop-10/ focus on what many civil society groups believe will be the contentious issues at the Nagoya negotiations this month.

“Biodiversity lies at the very heart of the most serious challenges facing the planet today”, says Helena Paul, co-Executive Director of Eco-Nexus, UK.  “If we want to tackle food insecurity and cope with climate change, we have to start with biodiversity”.

“According to the UN, we’ve lost 75% of the world’s crop and livestock varieties – and continue to lose more each day.  We’re in a crisis of biodiversity, losing species we have not even seen yet”, says Paul. “We can’t afford to lose any more of the diversity that helps us create, innovate, and be resilient to shocks.  This is the wealth of our planet, this is what feeds people.  Let’s be clear – biodiversity is essential to maintain the ecosystems humanity has relied on for the last ten thousand years. It’s a matter of survival and we have to act now.”

Moreover, the Convention should do more to highlight the key role of those who protect biodiversity and use it sustainably, says Chee Yoke Ling, Director of the Malaysian based Third World Network, “There’s so much at stake here for the world’s small scale farmers, fishers, and indigenous peoples.  They’re at the frontlines of preserving biodiversity, and knowledge of that diversity”.

“Industrial expansion and new techno-fixes are hurting them, and taking their ability to preserve diversity and make a living.   Their future is our future, and they need biodiversity justice”, says Chee Yoke Ling.

Biodiversity justice is a central theme in the ‘Top10 for COP10’ briefing, according to Canadian Jessica Dempsey, co-ordinator of the CBD Alliance.  “We want to highlight what’s really at stake these negotiations, and the fact that food producers and civil society organizations have a key role to play in Nagoya”.

Civil society brings the expertise and voice of those who are not always represented at intergovernmental conferences, says Dempsey.
“We help convey the stories about ecological devastation, corporate theft, wrong-headed governmental policies, and the spiraling decline of both cultural and biological diversity”.  Hundreds of civil society groups from the Global South and the North will be present in Japan to ensure negotiators face up to some of the most pressing issues for the equitable and socially just survival of life on this planet.

The Top 10 Issues for COP 10 include: [1] Future of the CBD: taking biodiversity from the margins to the centre; [2] Finance, economic instruments and biodiversity; [3] The Nagoya Access and Benefit Sharing Protocol; [4] Climate change, geoengineering and biodiversity; [5] Ending deforestation through socially just measures, not markets; [6] Fuelling biodiversity loss: biomass for biofuels, bioenergy, biochar and the technologies of the new bioeconomy; [7] Urgent political will needed to make sustainable use a reality; [8] Agricultural biodiversity feeds the world!; [9] Bringing equity to protected areas; [10] Upholding Indigenous Peoples Rights and Supporting Traditional Knowledge.

Download them all at  [https://undercovercop.org/top-10-for-cop-10/]

For more information and to arrange interviews:

Those seeking an on-the-ground contact in Nagoya can find contacts for each issue at the end of each briefing (available at https://undercovercop.org/top-10-for-cop-10/). Media can also contact the co-coordinator of the CBD Alliance, Jessica Dempsey, who can direct you to appropriate contacts and experts from all over the world. She can be reached on email  [jdempsey@cbdalliance.org] any time or by phone in Nagoya: 080 5191-6947 (or from outside Japan ++81 080-5191-6947)

Notes to Editors:

1.     The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), established after the 1992 Rio World Summit on Environment and Development, is the leading UN agreement for protecting and governing the world’s ecosystems.  It covers many areas of environmental, economic and social policy, involving thousands of participants and producing large amounts of policies, guidelines and international law.

2.     More detailed information on each of these issues, is available at https://undercovercop.org/top-10-for-cop-10/). These media briefs have been assembled through contributions of over 30 civil society organizations and networks worldwide, facilitated by the CBD Alliance (www.cbdalliance.org).  These briefings are not representative of all civil society positions around the Convention on Biological Diversity. We encourage media to seek out particular individuals and actors for their own views as the negotiations advance. Those seeking an on-the-ground contact in Nagoya can find contacts for each issue at the end of each briefing page.

3.     Civil society organizations will post daily updates and cutting analysis throughout the Conference, via the “ECO”, available at www.undercoverCOP.org

4.     Helena Paul, Chee Yoke Ling, and Jessica Dempsey will be at a CBD Alliance Press Conference in Nagoya, on Monday, 18 October, 15:00-15:30, Venue:  the International Conference Room (Room 3f) in Building 3.