2010: International Year of Biodiversity

Written by  //  November 19, 2010  //  Biodiversity, Britain/U.K., Canada, United Nations  //  Comments Off on 2010: International Year of Biodiversity

International Year of Biodiversity
Convention on Biological Diversity

IUCN Biodiversity
The State and Trends of Biodiversity Science in Canada

The Minister of Canadian Heritage, on behalf of the Canadian Museum of Nature, asked the Council of Canadian Academies to assess the state and trends of biodiversity science in Canada. The charge to the Expert Panel focuses specifically on the state of taxonomic and biosystematics research in Canada – research that discovers, distinguishes, identifies, and classifies species of organisms.

List identifies unique species at risk of dying out
British scientists have compiled a list of 100 of the world’s most distinct animals, so-called “ugly ducklings” that are largely forgotten by conservationists, and on the verge of extinction. “These species are not only seriously threatened, they have the fewest living relatives and so represent an extraordinary amount of evolutionary diversity,” says one researcher. The Guardian (London) (11/19)

11 – 29 October 2010, Nagoya, Japan
Celebrations of the International Year of Biodiversity during COP-MOP 5 and COP 10.
11 – 15 October 2010, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
COP 10 – Tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, 18 – 29 October 2010
IISD Coverage of COP 10

CBD COP 10 adopted the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing; a revised Strategic Plan for the Convention; and a decision on resource mobilization. The meeting also adopted several decisions, including on biodiversity and climate change, biofuels, marine and coastal biodiversity and traditional knowledge, and established a de facto moratorium on geo-engineering. Plenary … adopted a decision welcoming India’s offer to host Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP 6 and CBD COP 11 in October 2012.
Biodiversity Conference OKs Nagoya Protocol In Overtime
Biodiversity talks are nearing agreement
Delegates at a UN conference on biodiversity in Japan are optimistic of reaching a deal on preservation of the world’s natural habitats and the equitable sharing of their genetic resources. Central to any deal is a protocol addressing payment to developing countries for use, largely by rich countries, of their natural genetic materials. BBC (10/29)
28 October
Nature deal ‘on knife-edge’ as nations clash on money
Talks have run through the night at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting as delegates tried to salvage talks on protecting nature.
Major differences remained on targets for protected areas, equitable access to genetic resources, and funding.
26 October
COP10–Biodiversity / Canada ‘betraying its own people’
(Daily Yomiuri) Representatives of indigenous peoples of Canada on Tuesday accused that country’s government of misinformation and betrayal at the ongoing biodiversity conference in Nagoya, during negotiations over a protocol concerning access and benefit-sharing (ABS) of genetic resources.
The representatives called on Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice to meet with them over the wording of the protocol.
A vote was held last week at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) on whether the preamble of an ABS protocol should include a reference to the significance of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canada was the sole nation to oppose the inclusion, infuriating indigenous groups.
25 October
Pessimism Prevails as CBD COP Resumes in Nagoya
… Many commercial pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and biochemicals have been derived from plants and animals found in nature. And because the most biodiverse countries in the world are in poorer regions, while the users of genetic resources are typically located in the developed world, ABS has long been an important priority on the agenda of developing countries. But while all parties involved in the negotiations generally agree that countries and communities should be fairly compensated by industry, consensus on the details has eluded negotiators for more than six years.
Biodiversity Negotiations Snagged on Sharing Research Benefits
(AAAS) Researchers around the world will likely have to keep closer tabs on genetic materials collected from the wild and share the proceeds of any commercialization with the countries of origin and possibly with indigenous peoples. That would be the result if a deadlock can be broken on a treaty under negotiation this week at a United Nations conference on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan. Failure to agree on a scheme for access and benefit sharing—dubbed ABS by insiders—could scuttle two other agreements under consideration, one setting new targets for stemming biodiversity loss and another providing the financial resources to do so.
Nagoya Meeting Spawns New Biosafety Treaty
Officials from 116 countries have approved a new international treaty that establishes rules on how industry would be liable if imported living genetically modified organisms end up polluting ecosystems. But while the treaty has been held up by many as a symbol of success for multilateral environmental negotiation, critics raised concerns over the legal effectiveness of the pact and suggested the final text has been significantly watered down over the six year negotiating process.
23 October
To the rescue: nature advocate Harrison Ford
(Japan Times) Ford, the man who fought beside Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars” and cracked a whip against all manner of baddies in “Indiana Jones,” is also a dedicated environmentalist who will be in Nagoya next week to speak at a side event sponsored by Conservation International, where he serves on the board of directors.
Nagoya biodiversity talks stall on cash and targets
(BBC) Conservation groups have expressed concern that a major UN conference on nature protection is stalling, with some governments accused of holding the process hostage to their own interest.
Their warning comes halfway through the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Nagoya, Japan.
During negotiations some countries have proposed weaker rather than stronger targets for protection, they say.
22 October
Biodiversity Negotiators Move Treaty Text Forward; Deadline Pushed To Monday
(Intellectual Property Watch) Officials negotiating this week on an international agreement to stop misuse of genetic resources appear to have reached minimal consensus on additional articles of the draft text under negotiation, though many specific areas of disagreement were resolved, they said. A Friday deadline for completion was pushed to Monday in the hope they can resolve deeper differences on fundamental issues such as traditional knowledge and compliance.
Urgency, yet no consensus, at biodiversity talks
Diplomats at the ongoing Convention on Biological Diversity say the future of the planet is at risk, yet they appear increasingly unlikely to hammer out a deal because rich countries do not want to pay poor countries for use of their marine and land resources. Targets for preserving the world’s biodiversity are unlikely to be met until issues like access and payment are codified under international law. The Economist/Newsbook blog (10/21)
Canada Seeks to Drop Native Peoples from New Biodiversity Pact
(IPS) – Blame Canada if countries fail to agree to a new binding treaty to curb the rapid loss of plant, animal and species that form the intricate web of life that sustains humanity. That is the view of indigenous representatives from Canada in response to a late night move by the Canadian delegation to strike a reference to indigenous peoples’ rights at the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) members’ conference here.
“Canada is stalling progress here, weakening our rights and fighting against a legally-binding protocol on access and benefit sharing,” said Armand MacKenzie, executive director of the Innu Council of Nitassinan, the indigenous inhabitants in northeastern Canada.
At Japan biodiversity meeting, access to resources divides rich and poor
(CSM) As talks on halting the global loss of species got underway Monday in Japan, long-standing disagreements over how to split up the economic benefits those species generate are threatening to stall negotiations.
18 October
Biodiversity Conference Starts in Japan
(NYT/AP) — Delegates from more than 190 nations opened a United Nations conference on Monday whose goal is ensuring the survival of diverse species and ecosystems threatened by pollution, exploitation and habitat encroachment.
But the two-week gathering in Nagoya, 170 miles west of Tokyo, of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity faces some of the same divisions between rich and poor nations over what actions to take that have bogged down global climate negotiations.
11 October
Japan warns on pace of biodiversity loss
(AFP) Japan warned Monday that the diversity of life on Earth was being lost at the fastest rate ever seen, at the opening of a UN conference on the safe use of modern biotechnology.
The five-day meeting in the central Japanese city of Nagoya comes ahead of a major international conference on biodiversity next week and was to consider how genetically modified organisms are threatening plant and animal species.
Colorado State University Biology Professors Receive $3 Million NSF Grant to Study Stream Biodiversity in Face of Climate Change
A group of Colorado State University professors will spend the next five years evaluating – for the first time – how temperature and extreme weather such as floods and drought affect stream life differently in temperate and tropical climates.
7 September
South Still Battling to Stop North’s Biopiracy
(IPS) – The United Nations declared 2010 the Year of Biodiversity. But 17 years after the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the issue of biopiracy is still pitching North against South.
The new international regime on access to genetic resources and benefit- sharing, first proposed in 2002, will be on the agenda at the forthcoming 10th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity that is taking place in Nagoya, Japan, between Oct 18-29, 2010.
International Day for Biodiversity – 22 may 2010
(IPS) The loss of biodiversity is widespread, and it is worrying; there are all sorts of alarming numbers about. These numbers roll off our attention span, amidst all the doomsday statistics. And there is a perception that biodiversity is all about the disappearance of exotic insects in some distant land. But these forms of life must be saved, for their own sake, and because humans are a part of biodiversity. Dangers to one form of life are a threat to another. In this International Year of Biodiversity, IPS taps into its own diverse network of correspondents around the world to report these ever new dangers to forms of life – and the struggle to protect them.
21 May
Report on failure to halt wildlife decline is buried
The report – “The UK Biodiversity Action Plan: highlights from the 2008 reporting round” – was finished more than a year ago, and wildlife campaign groups have accused the previous Labour government of deliberately sitting on it, and the new Conservative-Lib Dem coalition Government of actively seeking to hide it. It concerns the progress – or lack of it – of the 500-plus UK species and habitats which have been the subject of Biodiversity Action Plans, or BAPs.
The report shows that 24 per cent of the priority species are declining (88 species in total), as against 11 per cent which are improving. Typical continuing declines, besides red squirrels, plants such as juniper and fish such as the common skate, include the turtle dove, the twinflower and the brindled beauty moth. And 42 per cent of the priority habitats (19 habitats in total, including wildlife-rich upland chalk grassland and upland hay meadows) are in decline, as against 18 per cent which are improving.
10 May
(RCI) Delegates at a United Nations conference say that new goals are needed to protect nature of plants and animals will face extinction at an alarming rate. Experts from 90 nations are assessing the risk of extinction at a conference in Oslo. Conference co-chairs say that pollution, urban sprawl and global warming are contributing to the worst crisis for plants and animals since the dinosaurs became extinct. The damage from climate change and industrialization has done damage to ancient coral reefs, expanded deserts in Africa and diminished rainforests in the Amazon. Conference delegates warn that damage to nature will hurt the global economy that largely depends on natural products. The results of the Oslo conference will help to set new goals at a U.N. conference on biodiversity in Japan in October.

World governments fail to halt biodiversity loss

May 10 (Reuters) – World governments have failed to meet a 2010 target to halt biodiversity loss and action must be taken to preserve the species and ecosystems upon which human life depends, a United Nations report “Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3)“, said on Monday.
UN warns on ecological tipping points
UN Convention on Biological Diversity executive secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf has warned that global climate change is closing to pushing several sensitive ecosystems over tipping points — after which damage will be irrevocable. Deforestation in the Amazon, algae growth in many freshwater lakes and rivers, and coral reef decline due to increased ocean acidification and warmth were named as three potential tipping points. Djoghlaf chided UN member nations for failing to meet a 2002 pledge to curb the loss of biodiversity. Google/Agence France-Presse (5/10)
A financial trick in the familiar biodiversity tale
By Richard Black, environment correspondent for the BBC News website
(BBC) Let me pick out a statistoid from the UN’s third and latest Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) report, launched at the Zoological Society of London on Monday.
The abundance of vertebrates – mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish – decreased by about one-third between 1970 and 2006.
A couple of other things caught my eye from GBO-3.
One is that over the same time period – 1970-2006 – the Earth’s human population almost doubled.
The second concerns the 21 “subsidiary targets” that governments set in 2002, alongside their headline target of significantly curbing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.
The main 2010 target has been spectacularly missed, but some of the 21 subsidiary ones have partially been met, in some regions of the world at least. They’re indicated in GBO-3 by a bit of green in an otherwise red circle.
But cloaked in complete red, indicating complete failure, are the two that are most fundamental when it comes to preserving the extent to which human lives depend on what nature supplies :
Reducing unsustainable consumption of biological resources, or that impacts upon biodiversity
Maintaining the capacity of ecosystems to deliver biological resources that support sustainable livelihoods, local food security and health care
BIODIVERSITY: We Can Live Without Oil, But Not Without Flora and Fauna
(Tierramérica) – The policies and deals that contributed to the massive oil spill under way in the Gulf of Mexico are also jeopardising the Earth’s vital biological infrastructure, according to the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3. The biodiversity trends are almost all negative: the declines are exponential and potential tipping points loom,Thomas Lovejoy, biodiversity chair at the Washington DC-based Heinz Centre for Science, Economics and the Environment, and chief biodiversity adviser to the president of the World Bank, told Tierramérica. He led the scientific review committee of the GBO3 and will publicly launch the report Monday at the opening of the Convention on Biological Diversity science meeting in Nairobi. Download GBO3 (PDF)
UN report warns of economic impact of biodiversity loss
(The Guardian) The ‘alarming’ rate of nature loss could harm food sources and industry, and exacerbate climate change, UN report warns
• World fails to meet target to halt biodiversity decline
• Q&A: What is biodiversity and why is it important?
16 April
High-level General Assembly event to mark the International Year of Biodiversity
As a means to mark the International Year of Biodiversity, the United Nations General Assembly decided on 15 April 2010 to hold a high-level event on biodiversity on 22 September 2010, the eve of the opening of the general debate of its sixty-fifth session.
16 March
Editorial: The entangled bank unravels
(Supplement to Nature) The rich variety of the natural world that Charles Darwin memorably imagined as an “entangled bank”, and that E. O. Wilson labelled “biodiversity”, is in crisis. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) calculates that one-fifth of mammals and nearly one-third of amphibians are threatened with extinction. Some estimate that only half of the species alive today will survive to 2100. Others describe the pace of biodiversity loss as 100 times the rate of natural extinctions. Less-diverse ecosystems are less productive, less stable and less robust. So loss of biodiversity may weaken ecosystems and make them more fragile, especially in the face of climate change, with grave consequences for food security, among other things.
This year, therefore, has been designated the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) by the United Nations General Assembly. Throughout the year, evolutionary biologists, ecologists, conservationists, policy makers and communicators will be negotiating how best to reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity.
Olivia Judson:
Divide and Diminish
The human impulse to parcel nature into smaller and smaller plots is a danger to biodiversity.
(NYT) When we break up rainforests or steppes, or build roads through pristine landscapes, we start to fray the fabric of nature. We may not see the full impact today, tomorrow, or next year. But we know what the long-term effects will be. By fraying nature we make the planet a simpler, duller, diminished place.

13 February
Nature and Animal Conservation
(Global Issues) Conservation of ecosystems and the species within them would help to maintain the natural balances disrupted by recent human activity.A report from the global conservation organization, WWF, has suggested that since 1970 the pressure we exert on the planet has almost doubled and the natural resources upon which we depend have declined by more than 33%
18 January
UK meeting aims for new global biodiversity deal
Ingredients of a new deal on protecting global biodiversity are likely to be decided this week at a London meeting.
About 55 nations are sending delegates to the meeting, which will be chaired by UK and Brazilian ministers. A key aim is to agree what sort of targets should be set at October’s UN biodiversity summit for curbing the loss of species and ecosystems. Governments are keen to avoid the kind of fundamental divisions that dogged last month’s climate summit.
14 January
Back to school on biodiversity
I’m spending part of this week at biodiversity school.
Not any ordinary school, mind, but Britain’s Royal Society.
This week it hosts a conference with the somewhat arcane title Integrating Ecosystem Services into Biodiversity Management – which doubles as the triennial conference of the InterAcademy Panel, the umbrella organisation encompassing 103 science academies (like the Royal Society) from around the world.
11 January
World’s biodiversity ‘crisis’ needs action, says UN

The UN has launched the International Year of Biodiversity, warning that the ongoing loss of species around the world is affecting human well-being.
Eight years ago, governments pledged to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, but the pledge will not be met. The expansion of human cities, farming and infrastructure is the main reason.

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