Japan and participants orchestrated the conference with immense talent, not without fears
"And finally, to your clouded, wounded heart, even a true bell cricket will seem like a grasshopper. Should that day come, when it seems to you that the world is only full of grasshoppers, I will think it a pity that you have no way to remember tonight's play of light".
"The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket" Yasunari Kawabata, 1968 Nobel Prize for Literature
After two weeks of intense negotiations, representatives of about one hundred and ninety countries, with the notable exception of the United States which never ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted a strategic plan for 2020 laying down twenty objectives to protect nature and slow the alarming rate of species loss at the Nagoya, Japan Cop 10 meeting (10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity).
Following the debates which effects will have a major impact on businesses around the world, similar to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, the groups discussions, the elaboration in plenary session and, on the last day, the very hard talks delaying the final plenary session approving the texts, was phenomenal and I have to say it all goes to the success of Japanese organizers and groups diligent presidents and chairs who proved that they have leadership when they are in close encounter with world preoccupations. There is a a model care here.
"Breakthrough, Success, Leadership, Agreement, Compromise Harmony with Nature," those are some of the media expressions used to praise the Nagoya conference. These same words could from now on be used to resolve other urgent crucial issues of our planet: Hunger, disease, conflicts.
"Applause and cheers filled the Plenary Session Hall early Saturday morning as attendees adopted the ABS protocol and the two key agreements that proved the thorniest of the negotiations." Local paper Japan Times commented. And "it's a shame for the United States government, not part in the negotiation, unable to share the success" [of this agreement] that will deliver new income for the developing world, as one exhilarated participant told me on the conference's last day!
Ten months after the huge disappointment of the Copenhagen summit, violence included, on global warming, the success of the conference should Nagoya, beyond the sometimes very technical provisions it contains, restore color to the UN negotiating process on the environment.
The adoption of these decisions has been welcomed by a long round of applause of all delegates. "The protocol of Nagoya is a historic achievement," said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International. This protocol ABS is "a dream that all countries have in mind for a long time," said Japanese Environment Minister, Ryu Matsumoto, visibly moved, who chaired the discussion. "With great wisdom, tremendous effort and tears, we did it!" The French Secretary of State for Ecology, Chantal Jouanno, said too that it was "a historic agreement, a great moment."
But not binding...
The plan, which does not legally binding, can have a real impact for the protection of species throughout the world? "Yes," says Russell Mittermeier, president of the U.S. NGO Conservation International. "Protected areas, whatever their nature, are the best tool we have to date to protect the diversity of life," he said. "Even if it is not a legally binding decision, the message sent to all countries is: 'We must do more."
Delegates signed a deal on ecosystem preservation targets for the 2011-20 period, agreeing to set aside 17% of land and 10% of the sea for preserving biodiversity. Strengthening protection of endangered species was also included in the ecosystem preservation targets.
But a goal of boosting the scale of public and private sector funds for the preservation of biodiversity by 10 fold did not survive in its entirety, with the figure dropped from the final agreement.
Several commitments still leave the door open to many interpretations. Thus, a goal advocated the "elimination" or at least the "phasing" of "perverse subsidies" for biodiversity. Questions remain about its real influence on countless fisheries subsidies, particularly in Europe, while the overfishing of many species is scientifically documented. "70 to 80% of fish species that we eat" are fished beyond their reproductive capacity, recalled the actor Harrison Ford...
Keiichi Koga, an expert on environmental issues at the Japan Research Institute, a think tank, said to Kyodo news agency that while Matsumoto occasionally played an active role at the talks as president, Japan’s strong stance on the issue was not highly visible. "While I want to give Japan credit for getting a deal, I doubt that (Japanese) politicians understand the importance of COP10."
The next "Conference of the Parties" of the CBD will take place in two years, New Delhi, India.
Sources: Reporter's Notes, News agencies, Cop 10 CCTV live
broadcast & conferences, Secretariat.