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Convention on Biological Diversity (Hyderabad Conference)

Volume 551: debated on Friday 26 October 2012

I am pleased to announce to the House that on behalf of the United Kingdom I have negotiated an agreement at the conference of parties to the convention on biological diversity which will ensure that the progress made since the last meeting in Nagoya in 2010 towards halting biodiversity decline will be maintained. The outcome of the negotiations is a step in the right direction for the protection of our precious ecosystems which form the basis for human life and economic activity.

The key aspect of the negotiations was an agreement on a resource mobilisation strategy which will double total biodiversity-related international resource flows to developing countries, from all sources, both public and private taken together, by 2015, and to maintain this level at least until 2020. This includes financial, technical and human recourses from both public and private sources and highlights the need for all partners, both public and private, to work together towards protecting our vital biodiversity.

All parties have also agreed that improving the availability and accuracy of data to capture the full range of biodiversity-related funding is a high priority. The agreement establishes a new process to make more transparent the resources being committed domestically by developing countries; and makes it clear that any increase in international flows will be dependent on developing countries giving increased priority to biodiversity in their development plans.

Biodiversity will continue to be an important consideration for UK aid. Spending on biodiversity is demand-driven, and countries have committed to prioritise biodiversity in their national development plans and programmes. We remain on track to deliver our commitment of 0.7% of our gross national income by 2013 to be spent on official development assistance and any spending in consequence of Hyderabad will be met within our existing commitment.

This agreement on resource mobilisation could only be acceptable to the United Kingdom with a reaffirmation by all parties of the commitments made in Nagoya in 2010. We have agreed an indicator framework for assessing progress towards the 20 “Aichi targets” which is integral to halting global biodiversity loss. Globally and nationally we must now focus on the implementation of the strategic plan for biodiversity 2011-2020 and the achievement of the 20 “Aichi targets”.

On access and benefits sharing, one of the key agreements in Nagoya two years ago, we now have a road map for delivery towards the first meeting of the parties to the Nagoya protocol. Furthermore, we made some real progress on applying biodiversity safeguards for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, without cutting across the climate change convention, thereby achieving key UK objectives. There were also acceptable decisions about collaboration between biodiversity and climate change institutions on ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and on geo-engineering.

We have also made good progress on marine issues. Ecologically and biologically significant areas will be stored in a repository for reference and examination by other authorities. This will help us and other countries to take the ecological and biological sensitivities of these areas into account when forming policy on these precious marine areas. This is a real and positive statement from the conference and for the protection of marine biodiversity.

I was particularly pleased to take the opportunity to promote British trade links with India and the Andhra Pradesh region. Seeing the efforts of Marks and Spencer, which has been working with an NGO, WWF, to protect the environment while increasing the incomes of thousands of Indian farmers was a good demonstration of the difference ethically minded British companies can make. The ethos displayed by the farmers underlined again that sustainability and good environmental practice will lead to development and improved livelihoods. My visit to the pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy which displayed an ethical and sustainable business practice was also inspiring. Its investment into the United Kingdom is a showcase of how our first-rate education system continues to attract international focus and an excellent example of developed and developing country collaboration for the benefit of all.

Here in the UK we are satisfied that our national plans for biodiversity can be successfully implemented within the framework of this agreement. We can feel reassured that we are on the right track and leading the way on the protection of our biodiversity and proud of the continuing role the UK plays internationally on biodiversity.