martes, junio 03, 2008

A Leap Backwards

Press Release From the Global Forest Coalition:

Immediate Release 31 May 2008

A Leap Backwards: Biodiversity Loses at UN Convention on Biodiversity One Big Step Forward for Industry

Bonn, Germany--Global Forest Coalition [1] is appalled at the lack of political will displayed at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Ninth Conference of the Parties (COP-9) and the direction the CBD is headed. Although countries in the Africa Group were unified in protecting biodiversity, other countries such as Brazil, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Japan blocked most progressive attempts to contain the alarming influence of industry now found in the CBD.

Very disappointedly the CBD now makes it easier for genetically engineered trees to be commercialized, which sets back the gains achieved at the last CBD (COP-8) in Curitiba, Brazil in 2006. [2] Nor did the CBD adopt a correct definition of forests, which should exclude monoculture timber plantations from that definition.

Dr Miguel Lovera, chairperson of GFC said, "This is not a step ahead but a huge step backwards at a time when forests and biological diversity are being lost at alarming rates." Lovera continued, "The CBD did not do much to stop deforestation or protect biodiversity as proven by the GFC report released in Bonn, 'Forests and the Biodiversity Convention', [3] in which 22 countries [4] were independently monitored to evaluate countries' implementation of CBD decisions."

Lovera added, "In addition, although there is good language for Indigenous Peoples' participation in the preamble, there are hardly any measures to ensure this in the implementation process. One bright note, the CBD finally acknowledges that climate mitigation projects can be detrimental to forests and at least requests more research on these issues."

The CBD unfortunately failed to prevent agrofuel expansion. "They apparently are unaware of the litany of documented adverse impacts of agrofuels (biofuels) on biodiversity, food and climate," said Dr. Rachel Smolker, lead researcher and campaigner with GFC and Global Justice Ecology Project. She summarized, "Their decision is littered with references to 'promoting the benefits of sustainable biofuel production' and 'taking account of their full life cycle'. Benefits and sustainability have so far proven completely elusive, especially given the difficulties of accounting for full life cycle impacts." [5]

GFC's Sandy Gauntlett, Chairman of the Pacific Indigenous Peoples Coalition (PIPEC) said, "The parties to the CBD are fast becoming the world's largest organization dedicated to opposing equitable social change, with industry playing an increasingly larger role in commodifying the planet's environmental resources." He concluded, "Many of the parties are lining up for their slice of the cake."

One of the most alarming aspects of the direction the CBD is headed was the participation of a pseudo Non-Governmental Organization, PRRI (Public Research and Regulation Initiative), a biotechnology lobby group pretending to represent 'public researchers'. During the CBD, PRRI won the "Captain Hook Award" for the 'worst smoke screen'. [6]

Contacts: Orin Langelle, GFC Media Coordinator +49 (0)176 77187583 (Bonn mobile until 09:00 German time 1 June, and +1.802.578.6980 after 17:00 eastern U.S. time 1 June) English Simone Lovera, GFC Managing Coordinator, +595-21-663654 English, Dutch, Spanish, German and Portuguese

NOTES: [1] The Global Forest Coalition (GFC) is an international coalition of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples' Organizations (IPO's) involved in international forest policy.
The GFC was founded in 2000 by 19 NGOs and Indigenous Peoples Organizations from all over the world.
It is a successor to the NGO Forest Working Group, which was originally established in 1995. It participated in international forest policy meetings and organized joint advocacy campaigns on issues like Indigenous Peoples Rights, the need for socially just forest policy and the need to address the underlying causes of forest loss.

[2] Under Forest Biological Diversity (UNEP/CBD/COP8/WG.1/L3)

[3] 'Forests and the Biodiversity Convention' can be downloaded

[4] The countries monitored are Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Georgia, Germany, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Russian Federation, Samoa and Uganda.

[5] For the latest on agrofuels, please see the GFC and Global Justice Ecology report "The real cost of agrofuels: Impacts on food, forests, people and the climate"

[6] Coalition Against Biopiracy (CAB) announced the winners of the 5th Captain
Hook Awards at a lunch-time ceremony during the Ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Bonn, Germany. To view the award given to PRRI on YouTube