Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Natural capital could create a market value for biodiversity

Andrew Mitchell in "Sustainable Business" blog the Guardian (UK): Last month, Indian environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan told 80 world ministers at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity that: "The mobilisation of resources is the most important unresolved question that we have inherited from Nagoya [conference, Japan 2010]."

Natarajan was speaking in the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) at the convention in Hyderabad, India, where financial discussions centred around the potential doubling of funding for developing countries to meet their commitments to protect biodiversity in the face of its rampant global decline.

Developing countries wanted this scaling up of funding to be enacted within two or three years, but debt-ridden European countries only wanted to commit to doing this by 2020. Other countries, such as Canada and Japan, were reticent about any financial commitments. With such divisions, what hope is there for the forests and wildlife upon which our future security depends?

A quarter of the world's mammals, 13% of birds, 41% of amphibians and 33% of reef-building corals are now at risk of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Over-exploitation of resources, deforestation, pollution and climate change mean that the rate of extinction of plant and animal species is now as much as 1,000 times higher than before humans. The very fabric of the natural capital that underpins our economic prosperity is being undermined. New thinking is needed, and fast.

The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, which includes the Aichi biodiversity targets, proposes, halving the rate of habitat loss, expanding water and land areas under conservation, preventing the extinction of known threatened species, and restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems, among other things and all by 2020. The High Level Panel, co-sponsored by the UK and Indian governments, submitted a report to COP 11 which preliminarily estimated that upfront funding of $81bn, followed by $30bn a year thereafter was needed to achieve the Aichi targets....

A sculpture of a dodo bird, long extinct, in a park in Poland, shot by Szalax, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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