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XIth Conference of the Parties (COP 11), 2012 : At Hyderabad

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CoP 11.jpg Nature welcomes any technology for the survival of human being but damns those technologies which are against the nature

The 11th Conference of Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the 6th Meeting of Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety was held in Hyderabad. Both the meeting witnessed participation of 2000 delegates from around 150 nations. Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of Environment and Forests for India, served as the President of the COP. The conference basically discussed the issue of mobilisation of financial resources for protection of biodiversity and the delegates tried to find out commendable solutions for the issues of the Earth’s bio-diversity. One of the ways discussed by the participants at the conference to raise the financial resources for protection of biodiversity is by employing the so-called innovative mechanisms like making payments for ecosystem services and biodiversity offsets.  COP10 at Nagoya, Japan in 2010 had set 20 biodiversity targets known as Aichi targets and had also adopted a 10-year strategic plan to achieve those targets. 193 countries are parties to CBD adopted at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
The main focus of COP-11 was on the following issues: (a) the conservation of biological diversity; (b) biodiversity and livelihoods; (c) integration of value of Biodiversity in national planning and accounting process; (d) the sustainable use of the components of biological diversity; (e)strategy for resource mobilization; (f) operationalization of Nagoya Protocol; and (g) coastal and marine biodiversity.

Major outcomes: COP 11 has called for more science-based information. The 11th COP called for more science based information, the closure of knowledge gaps, and increased precaution, in the emerging field of synthetic biology and geo-engineering (climate engineering). 
Developed countries agree to double resources for biodiversity protection by 2015 Around 188 states parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity have agreed to double funding to protect biodiversity by 2015.

Agreements on Funding: In a major breakthrough at the United Nations conference on biological diversity, the developed countries agreed to double funding by 2015 to protect the planet's animal and plant species. Supported by G-77 and China, India called upon parties to reach an agreement and to avoid a collective failure to advance the cause of biodiversity conservation. For the first time, developing countries at COP 11, including India and several African states, pledged additional funds above and beyond their core funding towards the work of the CBD.

  1. Developed countries agreed at the conference to increase funding to support efforts in developing states towards meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
  2. Using a baseline figure of the average annual national spending on biodiversity between 2006 and 2010, developed countries said they would double biodiversity-related international financial flows by 2015. The COP also set targets to increase the number of countries that have included biodiversity in their national development plans, and prepared national financial plans for biodiversity, by 2015.
  3. All Parties agreed to substantially increase domestic expenditures for biodiversity protection over the same period. These targets, and progress towards them, will be reviewed in 2014.
  4. For the first time, developing countries at COP 11, including India and several African states, pledged additional funds above and beyond their core funding towards the work of the CBD.
  5. The conference also saw the launch of the Hyderabad Call for Biodiversity Champions. The programme will accept pledges from governments and organizations in support of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. The government of India this week committed over US$ 50 million as part of the programme.
  6. The Global Environment Facility, the financial mechanism of the Convention, for the first time, was provided with an assessment of the financial resources required to meet the needs of developing countries for implementing the Convention..

On Marine Biodiversity: On the issue of Marine Biodiversity, the 193 Parties to the CBD agreed to classify a diverse list of marine areas, some renowned for containing hidden treasures of the plant and animal world, as ecologically or biologically significant. Parties to the Convention also called for more research into the potential adverse effects of underwater noise from ships on marine and coastal biodiversity, and highlighted the growing concern on the adverse effects of marine litter. It also recognized the growing challenge of climate change impacts on coral reefs, which, Parties agreed, will require significant investment to overcome. The Sargasso Sea, the Tonga archipelago and key corals sites off the coast of Brazil are among a range of marine areas to receive special attention by governments as part of renewed efforts to sustainably manage the world’s oceans agreed in Hyderabad. Many of the areas are beyond national jurisdictions and, as such, receive little or no protection at present.

Others: To meet the Aichi Biodiversity Target of ensuring that 10 per cent of marine areas are protected by 2020, says the UNEP report, an additional 8 million square kilometres of marine and coastal areas would need to be recognized as protected - an area just over the size of Australia. COP agreed to transmit the results of this classification work to the United Nations General Assembly so that they can be considered by relevant UN processes linked to the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, in particular the United Nations General Assembly Working Group which is considering the development of an international agreement for biodiversity conservation in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction. Parties to the Convention also called for more research into the potential adverse effects of underwater noise from ships on marine and coastal biodiversity, and highlighted the growing concern on the adverse effects of marine litter. It also recognized the growing challenge of climate change impacts on coral reefs, which, Parties agreed, will require significant investment to overcome.

National Biodiversity Plans

Much of the COP 11 negotiations revolved around practical and financial support for countries in implementing national biodiversity plans to meet the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

In reviewing global progress in implementing such measures, the COP reaffirmed the need for enhanced technical and scientific cooperation among countries, while underlining the potential for enhanced cooperation among developing countries. To support such efforts, a new National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans Forum (NBSAP Forum) was launch at COP11 by UNEP, CBD, The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The online forum provides easy-to-access, targeted information such as best practices, guidelines and learning tools for countries.

UNEP’s Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Initiative also presented a series of practical guides for governments at COP 11 for integrating the economic, social and cultural value of ecosystems into national biodiversity plans. COP 11 also agreed to a number of measures to engage the main economic sectors, such as business and development organizations, to integrate biodiversity objectives in their plans and programmes.

COP 11 developed new work in support of achieving Aichi Target 15 which calls for the restoration of 15 per cent of degraded lands. This work was supported by a call, in the margins of the meeting, by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and other bodies for concerted action in support of the decision.

A decision on climate change and biodiversity called for enhanced collaboration between the CBD and UN climate change initiatives including Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

Given that forests are home to more than half of all terrestrial species, initiatives such as REDD+, where developing countries can receive payments for carbon offsets for their standing forests, can potentially help achieve international biodiversity targets, as well as those concerned with cutting carbon emissions. The decision covers technical advice on the conservation of forests, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. However the COP also noted discussions around the need for biodiversity safeguards relating to REDD+ and similar incentives. Actions such as afforestation in areas of high biodiversity value, or the conversion of natural forests to plantations, for example, may have adverse impacts on biodiversity.

The COP adopted recommendations for improving the sustainable use and management of species hunted for ‘bushmeat’ in tropical and sub-tropical regions, where large-scale hunting and trade of animals has led to ‘empty forest syndrome’, and is increasingly threatens food security, and the ecological stability of forests and other ecosystems. Together with FAO and other organizations, the CBD Secretariat will establish a global ‘Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management’ to support developing countries in the implementation of relevant CBD provisions.

COP 11 adopted a decision on protected areas that provides a framework for achieving Aichi target 11. It calls for integration of national action plans for Protected Areas into revised National Biodiversity Strategies and action Plans.

A parallel summit of Cities and Local Authorities was convened with the support of ICLEI. Participants adopted the Hyderabad Declaration on Subnational Governments, Cities and other Local Authorities for Biodiversity, which supports the work of cities to achieve the Global Strategy for Biodiversity and calls for greater coordination between levels of government.