Brazil’s Summit on Biodiversity a Big Flop, Says Greenpeace

As the two-week long world summit on biodiversity drew to a close, Greenpeace described the outcome as major failure – a missed opportunity to stop the global loss of life in the world’s forests and oceans.

"The Convention on Biological Diversity is like a ship drifting without a captain to steer it," said Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace Political Advisor on Forests.

"The negotiations have failed to chart a course to stop biopiracy, provide additional financing for protected areas, establish marine reserves on the high seas and to ban illegal logging and trade."

Although the president of the COP8, Brazil’s environment minister Marina Silva, opened the conference calling for legislation against biopiracy, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have argued against strict deadlines for the negotiations.

"This simply buys time for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to secure patents on life under the regime of the World Trade Organization," said Kaiser.

At their last conference, the CBD member States agreed to establish a global network of protected areas, in order to safeguard life on earth and prevent the industrial exploitation of the world’s biodiversity at the expense of future generations. Money was promised by the rich countries to help make this happen.

"Both rich and developing countries have not delivered on their promises, and the proposed global network of protected areas has not become a reality." said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Coordinator. "Instead, governments have put nature at risk and allowed it to become a private commodity."

At the beginning of the conference, Greenpeace presented a roadmap to recovery, a global map of the last intact forests, and a network of marine reserves on the high seas, calling governments to take action. This challenge has been ignored.

The conference has not been able to address a core business of every government, eradicating illegal and unsustainable logging and fisheries.

"The need for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling, the most destructive form of fishing, is now being blocked by a few key countries, who are prioritizing their industry interests over the protection of marine biodiversity," said Karen Sack, Greenpeace Political Advisor on Oceans.

Despite the exploitation of the Amazon by illegal and destructive logging providing timber products to internal and external markets, the Brazilian government has blocked any meaningful collaboration at a regional and international level.

"This conference has been overshadowed by the announcement of the United States, the largest contributor to the funding body for biodiversity, that it will halve its financial contribution," concluded Kaiser.

"Four years ago, world leaders committed themselves to rescue life on earth by 2010. Many plans and programs are in place, but the financial support for developing countries is not provided yet."

Greenpeace – www.greenpeace.org

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