The motto “Living in Harmony with Nature,” recommended by the 11thConference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity for activities related to UN Decade on Biodiversity highlights the spirit of the Convention and the Conference that concluded in Hyderabad last week. However, the Conference could only make limited progress in taking decisions towards implementation of targets set at its last conference.
India brokered an agreement to double financial flows for implementation of the Convention’s strategic plans to protect biodiversity by 2015. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced India’s ratification of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and benefits sharing and made a pledge to allocate US$50 million during India’s two-year COP presidency, for enhancing India’s human and technical resources to attain the Convention’s objectives and for promoting capacity building in developing countries.
The Convention has decided to push for enough number of nations ratifying the Nagoya protocol so that it could come into force and the next conference of parties could focus on implementation. The Conference Secretariat was asked to take steps to develop a draft strategic framework for capacity building.
It called for discontinuation of incentives for that biofuel technologies that may aggravate drivers of biodiversity loss while acknowledging biofuel’s potential positive contribution to mitigating climate change.
It could not do much towards establishing control and regulatory mechanisms for geo-engineering other than advising the precautionary approach. The framework of the Convention may not even be sufficient to deal with larger effects of geo-engineering. The Convention failed to agree on action to address concerns about synthetic biology.
The Conference made an impressive number of decisions on several eco-system related issues, achieving synergies with other international efforts. Progress could be made towards address marine diversity issues such as such as marine
debris and ocean noise. Countries have been very slow in working towards achieving the Aichi targets and the next conference in South Korea would undertake a mid-term review of progress.