Civil society at the CBD
Press Release 13 May 2008
Civil Society at the Convention on Biological Diversity:
Ten Urgent Matters for life and livelihoods on earth
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Alliance has launched a media advisory highlighting ten of civil society’s most pressing concerns to be discussed at the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity. Almost all of the world’s governments will gather in to debate, negotiate, and hopefully take decisive action for life – both human and non-human – on earth.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the leading agreement for ecological governance, covering many areas of environmental, economic and social policy, involving thousands of participants and producing large amounts of policies, guidelines and international law.
The media advisory, which can be viewed and downloaded at http://undercoverco p.org/media/ intends to cut through the jargon of the official CBD process and to highlight what many civil society groups believe will be the key fights at the negotiations this month.
“The CBD process produces large amounts of written information that is not readily accessible to the average layperson and negotiations are often difficult to follow,” explains Jessica Dempsey, co-ordinator of the CBD Alliance. “Civil society organizations – including nongovernmental organizations, Indigenous organizations, local communities, and social movements – play a crucial role at the CBD in highlighting the biggest threats and the most urgent issues that governments need to address,” she continued.
Civil society brings expertise and voices of those who are not always represented at intergovernmental conferences, voices with stories to tell about ecological devastation, corporate theft, wrong-headed governmental policies, and the spiraling decline of both cultural and biological diversity. Hundreds of civil society groups from the Global South and the North will be present in to ensure negotiators face up to some of the most pressing issues for the equitable and socially just survival of life on this planet.
The loss of biological diversity and require strong, global, and collective action. Any solutions to and biodiversity loss must be complementary, not undermine each other. Any solutions must put the knowledge and rights of those most impacted at its core: Indigenous peoples, local communities, including family farmers, fisherfolk, peasants, pastoralists and others.
Some of the major concerns of civil society identified by some members of the CBD alliance are:
Food, hunger and agricultural biodiversity,  Bad agrofuel energy, Forest biological diversity,  Genetically engineered trees,  Damaging climate techno-fixes,  Ecosystem approach,  Ownership of life,  Protected Areas,  Compensation for victims of genetic contamination, and  Invasive species. For a short background on each of these areas see the notes below.
 Food, hunger and agricultural biodiversity: The capacity of the world to feed itself depends on sustaining agricultural biodiversity – diverse, and locally controlled seeds, crops, livestock, fisheries and productive ecosystems. The CBD should layout a new path for agriculture, livestock and fisheries in the 21st century, with food sovereignty at its core. Two thirds of current OECD agricultural subsidies are destroying biodiversity and must be cancelled.
 Bad “agrofuel” energy: The subsidies and runaway development of the agrofuels industry is fuelling speculation in commodity futures markets and land, so driving food prices, hunger and the destruction of ecosystems and communities. The CBD must act to halt the damage and call for the control of markets in agricultural commodities for food, feed and agrofuels.
 Genetically engineered trees: The release of genetically engineered (GE) trees poses an unprecedented threat to global forest ecosystems and forest biodiversity. Escape of GE trees and their traits into forests would be irreversible. The CBD must put an immediate global stop to the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment.
 Damaging climate techno-fixes: Profiteering companies are promoting extreme technological solutions to such as seeding the oceans with iron – known as geo-engineering. Ocean fertilization is not proven to reduce climate-changing gases in the atmosphere and may cause major changes to marine ecosystems – altering food webs, creating toxic tides or deoxygenated seas – changes that could, in some cases, be irreversible. The CBD must stop these before they worsen ecological destruction.
 Ownership of life: The genes, seeds, organisms and knowledge that the worlds poor depend on are being stolen, privatized and often patented. The new "access and benefit sharing" rules being decided at the CBD must prevent, not facilitate such theft, and be based upon the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
 Compensation for victims of genetic contamination: Not every country or community accepts the risks of genetically engineered organisms. Who should be liable and accountable for unwelcome contamination of genetically engineered organisms, or their health or socioeconomic impacts? The COP must develop a strong agreement that would leave no victim of contamination uncompensated.
PLEASE NOTE: The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Alliance is a loose network of civil society representatives. The CBD Alliance facilitated the development of these media briefings, to which some thirty organisations from North and global South contributed. The briefings should not be understood as the views of the CBD Alliance, nor of civil society in general, but as background information on some CBD issues from the views of some civil society representatives. For more information see www.cbdalliance. org
Etiquetas: Bonn 08