The 11th Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) concluded Sunday in the Indian host city of Hyderabad, where national environment ministers and representatives, leaders of UN organizations, NGOs and others had convened to consider a wide range of issues. Figuring prominently among them were biodiversity and the world's islands, coastal areas, oceans and forests, national biodiversity plans for developed and developing nations, CBD funding commitments and mechanisms, climate change and the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity--including payments for ecosystem services (PES).
All 193 national governments party to the CBD agreed to increase their commitments to protecting biodiversity. Developed countries agreed to double their financial commitments towards helping developing countries meet the internationally agreed upon Aichi Biodiversity Targets, as well as the main, broader goals of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, the UN CBD parties announced in a press release. The U.S. isn't a party to the CBD.
Developing countries, including India and several African governments, pledged additional funds above and beyond their core CBD financial commitments for the first time. India also led the "Hyderabad Call for Biodiversity Champions"--a fundraising program that's committed to assisting CBD nations achieve Strategic Plan for Biodiversity goals—pledging an initial $50 million to get it off the ground.
Incorporating Biodiversity into Government Planning, Economic Decision Making
CBD parties were also able to present to the Global Environment Facility (GEF)--the CBD's financial administrative agent--an assessment of the financial resources required by developing countries to implement the Convention.
Increased funding, as well as effective mechanisms to distribute and manage financial resources, are essential to enabling developing and developed nations to realize the five strategic goals and 20 biodiversity targets—the Aichi Biodiversity Targets--set forth in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 agreed to at COP 10 in Nagoya Japan in 2010. The increased commitments from developed and developing national governments alike is seen as a clear indication that progress is being made internationally to stem the extraordinary loss of biodiversity, ecosystems and the ecosystems services that's been occurring over the past century and more.
"The UN biodiversity conference in Hyderabad has taken forward the renewed momentum, forged two years ago in Nagoya," United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner stated. "Countries have sent a clear signal and delivered additional commitments underlining the fact that biodiversity and ecosystems are a development priority and central to a transition to an inclusive Green Economy."
"Mobilizing the necessary financial resources from the public and private sector needed to ensure achievement of the 2020 targets remains a challenge - but here in India, many nations including developing economies have signaled their determination and sense of urgency to seize the opportunities by providing much needed additional support,” he continued.
In an effort to renew efforts aiming to more sustainably manage human impacts on areas of the world's oceans currently outside internationally agreed national legal boundaries, COP 11 national governments also agreed to devote special attention to a range of marine areas—the Sargasso Sea, the Tonga archipelago and “key coral sites off the coast of Brazil” among them.
CBD national governments also agreed to recognize and classify a diverse list of marine areas as ecologically or biologically significant. Some are “renowned for containing 'hidden treasures' of the plant and animal world, they noted.
Earlier this week at COP 11, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched its “Protected Planet 2012” report. Half the world's richest biodiversity zones remain entirely unprotected, UNEP researchers found. That's despite a 60 percent increase in the number of protected areas since 1990.
Featured image credit: Fotopedia