Brazil Calls for Engagement of Developed Countries in International Biodiversity Negotiations

Minister of Environment Izabella Teixeira says success of COP 10 conference depends on progress in discussions on access to genetic resources

Oct 01, 2010, 12:54 ET from SECOM

BRASILIA, Brazil, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Brazil's Minister of Environment Izabella Teixeira called for greater commitment from developed countries in international negotiations on access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits arising from their use at the 10th Conference of Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10).  Speaking on a teleconference today, the Minister expressed concern over the lack of progress in discussions on Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS), and said that reaching a consensus is essential for a successful meeting in Nagoya.

The COP 10 meeting, to be held October 18-29 in Nagoya, Japan, seeks to establish a strong global agreement to reduce biodiversity loss around the world.  According to the Minister, Brazil's main priority for COP 10 is to push for the establishment of legally-binding protocol that defines clear rules for access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as well as the fair and equitable sharing of benefits generated from the use of biodiversity.  

"Brazil believes that we can take a new tack in international negotiations on biodiversity conservation that will improve the link to efforts to address climate change ... establishing this position at COP 10 will be essential. It is very important to show the world that we can take effective measures to protect biodiversity on the planet," said Teixeira.

Minister Teixeira also noted the importance of reviewing the Convention's Strategic Plan and setting realistic targets for biodiversity conservation over the next decade.  She also stressed the need for an effective resource mobilization strategy to fund conservation activities in developing countries and enable the targets of the Convention to be met. These topics, along with negotiations on Access and Benefit-Sharing, will be high on the agenda of the Brazilian government during the COP 10 conference in Nagoya.

Brazil's position is in line with those of its peers in the Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries, a grouping of the 17 developing nations with the highest rates of biodiversity on the planet, which has been chaired by Brazil since 2008.

Brazil demonstrates domestic progress toward biodiversity conservation

The latest UN reports reveal an acceleration in the loss of species around the world, confirming the need for a robust agreement in Nagoya and immediate action for the conservation of global biodiversity. Despite the negative trends shown by key indicators of global biodiversity, Minister Teixeira reiterated that Brazil has already implemented a series of successful domestic policies, which have made significant progress toward nature conservation in Brazil.  Notable achievements include the creation of a large volume of protected areas and a dramatic drop in Amazon deforestation registered last year.

According to Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, a report released in 2010 by the United Nations Environment Program, Brazil is the global leader in the creation of protected areas. According to the report, about 75 percent of the 700,000 sq km of protected areas established around the world since 2003 is located in Brazil. The creation of protected areas is regarded internationally as a major tool to prevent the loss of habitats and biodiversity.

Moreover, in 2009 Brazil recorded the lowest rate of deforestation in the Amazon in the last 20 years, estimated at approximately 7,400 sq km a 75 percent drop compared to the levels of deforestation in 2004. This progress is the result of a set of policies based on satellite monitoring of the forest, an increase in surveillance operations and enforcement, and government incentives to encourage sustainable activities in the Amazon. In September, the Ministry of the Environment announced the development of a similar strategy for the conservation of the Cerrado region, Brazil's savannah, which is also home to high levels of biodiversity.

Brazilian government to host COP 10 side event on convention implementation

The Brazilian government will promote a side event at the COP 10 meeting in Nagoya, entitled "Reconciling Efforts to Implement the Provisions of the Conventions on Climate Change and Biological Diversity in an Integrated Way." The side event will be held at Nagoya Gakuin University on Thursday, October 28, 2010, beginning at 6:15 pm.  This venue is located adjacent to the Nagoya Congress Center (NCC), where the COP 10 negotiations will be held.

This high-level event will address the political efforts that are needed in order to implement the provisions of two of the most important multilateral environmental agreements (the Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention on Biological Diversity). Counting on the participation of developed and developing countries, the discussion will address the commitments required to reduce the gap of implementation of both conventions. Brazil's progress in reducing deforestation in the Amazon will be used as an example of a successful integration of efforts, including the implementation of the Amazon Fund, a pioneering initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD).

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