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Convention on Biological Diversity

Volume 517: debated on Tuesday 2 November 2010

I attended the High-Level Segment 10th Conference of Parties to the convention on biological diversity, known as the Nagoya biodiversity summit, from 27 to 30 October. A team of officials from my Department and the Department for International Development supported me, having attended throughout the conference to prepare the ground for the ministerial High-Level Segment.

The conference concluded with all three of the UK’s main objectives fully achieved:

Agreement on a new strategic plan for global biodiversity conservation to 2020 and beyond. This comprises an ambitious, realistic and deliverable international mission, underpinned by 20 sub-targets on halting species loss and habitat degradation, reducing pollution and over-exploitation, and increasing financial support to developing countries

Agreement on a resource mobilisation package to ensure that developing countries would have the capacity to implement the strategic plan; and

Agreement on a new “Nagoya Protocol” on access and benefit sharing. It has taken 18 years to achieve this agreement, which establishes a regime under which developing countries will allow access to their genetic and natural resources in return for a share of the benefits—financial and other—for their use.

In addition to the three key issues under discussion, the Nagoya meeting saw nearly 50 individual decisions relating to a wide range of biodiversity issues—such as protected areas, biofuels, and invasive alien species—approved. The agreement emphasises the value of the natural environment to human welfare and livelihoods, and reflects the links between biodiversity, climate change and development. Notably, we gained agreement for the CBD to develop advice on the application of safeguards for biodiversity under REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries). The UK played a key role in securing this agreement.

Additionally on 26 October, I represented the UK at a ministerial meeting of the REDD+ partnership, a group of some 60 countries. This was an important opportunity to generate momentum before negotiations on REDD+ recommence at the UNFCCC meeting in Cancun later this year. At this meeting, I outlined the extended commitment to international climate finance provided under the spending review.

On the first day of the High-Level Segment, 27 October, I gave a speech, which included commitments on:

new funding to deliver biodiversity benefits through international forestry;

funding for the proposed Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); and

support for key projects on the economic value of nature, building on the landmark “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) report, which was published in Nagoya.

The new strategic plan will set the framework within which all 193 parties to the convention of biological diversity will be expected to operate domestically in order to play their part in the global conservation effort. Plans for implementing key elements of it in England will be included in the natural environment White Paper to be published in the spring.