Posts Tagged ‘Nagoya’

COP10 was much noise and no substance – thank goodness!

November 4, 2010


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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COP 10 Nagoya ends with a weak agreement

October 29, 2010

The much touted COP10 conference in Nagoya Japan ended today with an agreement to continue to have such conferences.  It is a relatively weak agreement and in practical terms the conference agreed to  targets of protecting 17% of the world’s land surface – up from the current 13% , and 10% of the oceans (as already existing) by 2020.

The BBC reports:

Many poorer countries say they do not have the resources to implement such targets. Developed nations agreed to establish mechanisms for raising finance to help them – which could amount to hundreds of billions of dollars per year by 2020.

They are required to have a plan to raise such sums in place by 2012, when Brazil will host the second Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The trickiest issue – the agreement on sharing profits from the development of products drawing on genetic resources in developing countries, known as Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) – was resolved after developed nations, led by the EU, made some crucial concessions.

In particular, they agreed that the measures should cover anything made from this genetic material, technically known as “derivatives”. They had previouslty argued for a much narrower scope.

Japan looks set to emerge with credit, having steered the tough negotiations through its final hours.

“What the Japanese government really wants to do here is to get agreement so they can be proud of the Nagoya CBD,” said Wakao Hanaoka, oceans campaigner with Greenpeace Japan.

“What is really needed, since the Japanese government has just started its role of chairing the CBC intil 2012, is to keep doing what they have promised to international society.”



“COP10hagen”: UN Biodiversity conference is just about money

October 28, 2010

With 2 days left the quotations from news reports today about the goings-on at COP 10 Nagoya are interesting:

  1. Developing nations in Africa and elsewhere in the world have called for a system under which they could seek compensation over benefits derived from genetic resources that originated in developing nations during the age of exploration by former colonial rulers – Yomiuri Shimbun
  2. A Namibia-sponsored proposal to create a benefit-sharing fund was seen as a compromise, as the southern African country characterized the move as softening previous approaches on the issue. Such a fund would be created with a portion of the benefits derived from genetic resources worldwide to ensure fair benefit-sharing. The Namibian proposal is said to have the support of 53 African nations. – Yomiuri Shimbun
  3. International biodiversity negotiations taking place in Nagoya, Japan, have been given a much-needed boost, with the announcement of US$2 billion in funding over the next three years from Japan to help implement the outcomes of the discussions. Nature
  4. While ministers from the developed countries eagerly announced money their countries were contributing, the fact that most of it was a part of aid funds already committed, was not mentioned. The outstanding issue – known as Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) – is the extent to which profits will be shared between poor nations and pharmaceutical and cosmetics firms from rich countries who use developing societies’ traditional knowledge and medicinal plants. Sify
  5. Elsewhere in the EU, governments with shaky budgets – Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain – have been reluctant for the bloc to commit additional funds beyond the roughly €1bn a year that it has spent on biodiversity since 2002. The Guardian

The objectives of this conference are merely vague platitudes. Just as with the UN Climate change conferences it is money that is at stake. 5,000 people have gathered in Nagoya for this conference/ jamboree. But it is likely – hopefully – to be as fruitless as last year’s Copenhagen climate change talks.  Nature reports that “in the corridors, the nickname “COP-10-hagen” is brewing”.

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