COP10 was much noise and no substance – thank goodness!

 

Flag of Nagoya City

Flag of Nagoya: Image via Wikipedia

 

My first impressions after the COP10 UN conference on biodiversity held in Nagoya was of a jamboree involving 5,000 people mouthing diffuse platitudes and woolly goals which had little to do with the further development of the human species. The Japanese hosts came up with 2 billion $ in the last few days of the conference to assuage some of the demands being made by developing countries and to be able to mount a PR exercise about the great success it had all been.

I don’t often agree with George Monbiot of The Guardian but this time I think he gets it right. It was a con. There was no substance in the declarations made at the end of the conference. The only point of difference is that I am profoundly thankful that there was no substance to something which has no real objectives whereas Monbiot believes that this was a minor tragedy. He writes:

We’ve been conned. The deal to save the natural world never happened

The so-called summit in Japan won’t stop anyone trashing the planet. Only economic risks seem to make governments act.

‘Countries join forces to save life on Earth”, the front page of the Independent told us. “Historic”, “a landmark”, a “much-needed morale booster”, the other papers chorused. The declaration agreed last week at the summit in Japan to protect the world’s wild species and places was proclaimed by almost everyone a great success. There is one problem: none of the journalists who made these claims has seen it.

I checked with as many of them as I could reach by phone: all they had read was a press release which, though three pages long, is almost content-free. The reporters can’t be blamed for this – it was approved on Friday but the declaration has still not been published. I’ve pursued people on three continents to try to obtain it, without success. Having secured the headlines it wanted, the entire senior staff of the convention on biological diversity has gone to ground, and my calls and emails remain unanswered. The British government, which lavishly praised the declaration, tells me it has no printed copies. I’ve never seen this situation before. Every other international agreement I’ve followed was published as soon as it was approved.

The evidence suggests that we’ve been conned. The draft agreement, published a month ago, contained no binding obligations. Nothing I’ve heard from Japan suggests that this has changed. The draft saw the targets for 2020 that governments were asked to adopt as nothing more than “aspirations for achievement at the global level” and a “flexible framework”, within which countries can do as they wish. No government, if the draft has been approved, is obliged to change its policies.

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One Response to “COP10 was much noise and no substance – thank goodness!”

  1. Erik Says:

    ..how big was the carbon footprint of this conference ?? (I’m representing the squirrels)

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