UN convention agrees to double biodiversity funding, accelerate preservation measures

17 October 2014

A United Nations conference in Republic of Korea wrapped up today with governments agreeing to double biodiversity-related international financial aid to developing countries, including small islands and transition economics, by 2015 and through the next five years.

The decision was made at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-12) in Pyeongchang.

Delegations attending the meeting, which opened 6 October in Republic of Korea’s key mountain and forest region, agreed on the so-called “Pyeongchang Road Map,” and “Gangwon Declaration”, both of which outline conservation initiatives and global sustainable development goals and initiatives.

“Parties have listened to the evidence, and have responded by committing,” said UN Assistant-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the CBD, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias.

The funding decision was originally made at the last CBD meeting in Hyderabad, India, in 2012, but there had been disagreement on how to implement it.

This time, the participants decided to use average annual biodiversity funding for the years 2006-2010 as a baseline. The targets, in particular, are the least developed countries and the small island developing States, as well as countries with economies in transition.

Key decisions taken in Pyongchang, including those on resource mobilization, capacity building, scientific and technical cooperation linking biodiversity and poverty eradication, and on monitoring of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, form the Roadmap and will, according to the CBD, strengthen capacity and increase support for countries and stakeholders to implement their national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

The decisions were bolstered by the call in the Gangwon Declaration, the result of two days of ministerial-level talks, to link the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda to other relevant processes such as the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) process and the national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

Governments also agreed to increase domestic financing for biodiversity and boost funding from other resources.

“Their commitments show the world that biodiversity is a solution to the challenges of sustainable development and will be a central part of any discussions for the post-2015 development agenda and its sustainable development goals,” Mr. Dias noted in reference to the agenda succeeding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The opening of the meeting coincided with the release of the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 report which tracked progress on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and drew attention to the implications on broader sustainable development this century.

The report cautioned that the world was not on track to meet the 20 targets, which include halving habitat loss, and reducing pollution and overfishing.

“The cost of inaction to halt biodiversity decline would give rise to increasing and cumulative economic annual losses to the value of around $14 trillion by 2050,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner.

“The decisions made at COP 12 here in Pyeongchang will leapfrog efforts to achieve the Aichi targets and put biodiversity on a stronger footing for decades to come,” he added.

Among other decisions, participants agreed to address key threats to marine biodiversity, namely anthropogenic underwater noise and ocean acidification.

They also agreed to reduce land based pollution, promote sustainable fisheries and improve the design of marine protected area networks for coral reefs, in line with Aichi Biodiversity Target 10 for coral reefs and closely associated ecosystems.

While in Pyeongchang, participants also held the first Meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol (COP MOP-1), which entered into force on 12 October after ratification by the 51st Government. As of today, 54 countries have ratified it.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing from the Utilization of Genetic Resources establishes clear rules for accessing, trading, sharing and monitoring the use of the world’s genetic resources that can be used for pharmaceutical, agricultural and cosmetic purposes.

Among the decisions agreed to in that meeting were measures to assist institutional capacities in developing countries, and a strategy to raise awareness of the international instrument.

“We need to see how the provisions of the Protocol are taken up at the national level,” Mr. Dias said, “and how this facilitates access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits with those stakeholders and indigenous peoples and local communities who conserve and sustainably use those resources.”

In addition, countries agreed on procedures to establish a committee to promote compliance with the Protocol and address cases of non-compliance.


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