A Special Report on Selected Side Events at the
19-30 May 2008 | Bonn, Germany
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Events on Thursday, 29 May 2008
Environmental Challenges in the DRC
Presented by UNEP
|L-R: Melanie Virtue, GRASP; Ian Redmond, GRASP, Ian Swingland, OBE; Ibrahim Thiawe, UNEP; José Endundo Bononge, Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation, Water and Forests, DRC; Veronika Lenarz, CMS; Robert Hepworth, Convention on Migratory Species; Kishore Rao, UNESCO; Marcos Silva, CITES|
Ian Redmond, Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP) Partnership, noted that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has the greatest diversity of great apes in the world, and highlighted the need for conservation strategies that reflect the transboundary nature of migratory patterns. He cautioned that although, 15% of the DRC has been protected, the ecological function of its forests requires the maintenance of its keystone species, including great apes. Melanie Virtue, GRASP, announced that the Spanish Ministry of Environment has recently provided US$360 000 in funding for GRASP’s efforts in the DRC.
José Endundo Bononge, Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation, Water and Forests, DRC, described the impact that the influx of four million refugees has had following the Rwandan conflict in 1994. He said that we are now entering a period of relative stability which is improving conditions for the conservation of great apes.
Robert Hepworth, Convention on Migratory Species, drew attention to the recent signing of the first legally binding agreement on gorilla conservation, which will enter into force on 5 June 2008, ratified by the Central African Republic, the DRC, the Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and Rwanda. He described some of the specific provisions of the agreement, including: habitat protection; anti-poaching efforts; local compensation for conservation; and human/gorilla conflict management.
Marcos Silva, CITES, emphasized that any conservation efforts must be based on accurate information, and described the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme. He said that in the DRC’s five UNESCO sites, 73% of elephants killed were due to poaching. He described the challenges associated with poaching, including: poor enforcement capacity; the wildlife and bushmeat trade; and mining, which has increased access to habitats.
Kishore Rao, UNESCO, said that many world heritage sites in the DRC are at risk due to armed conflict, and described efforts to improve the situation, including making this a political priority. He noted that rebel groups have recently allowed conservation officers to resume patrolling in national parks.
Ian Swingland, OBE, noted how the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, has encouraged multi-disciplinary conservation research. He said that a robust legal system and adequate enforcement is a pre-requisite to investment in conservation in the DRC.
Participants discussed the risks associated with China potentially receiving permission to trade in ivory at the next CITES COP, and the issue of UN peacekeepers being involved in trafficking ivory and bushmeat.
|José Endundo Bononge, Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation, Water and Forests, DRC, said that the DRC continues to face formidable developmental challenges that also threaten the habitat of great apes and other keystone species.||Marcos Silva, CITES, noted that poaching levels remain extremely high in the DRC’s national parks, including World Heritage sites.||Ian Redmond, GRASP, described the diversity of great apes species present in DRC, and their role in maintaining ecological function in one of the world’s largest forested areas.|
Biodiversity and Climate Change Adaptation
Presented by the CBD
Jaime Webb, CBD, introducing climate change adaptation within the CBD, noted that biodiversity contributes to adaptation: by providing safety for species; protection from natural disasters; and biodiversity-based livelihoods. She outlined the activities within the CBD facilitating adaptation, including: the protection of ecosystems; maintenance and restoration of ecosystem services; creation of biodiversity refuges and buffer zones; and the creation of networks of protected areas.
Lorenz Petersen, GTZ, on national action plans (NAPs), noted a number of flaws in actions plans at the national and sub-national levels, including: the lack of capacity and processes; overly-ambitious planning processes; lack of involvement of high-level leadership; and an inability to meaningfully engage stakeholders in planning. He suggested that future efforts must balance implementation and planning, take NAPs seriously, and give more thought to governance issues.
Olga Pilifosova, UNFCCC, outlining the activities on adaptation and mitigation under the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP), highlighted that the NWP proceeds along two tracks, namely implementation of activities and knowledge gathering. She stressed that the overarching goals of both tracks are capacity building and technology transfer. She underscored the objectives of the NWP are to assist all parties, in particular small island and developing states and vulnerable least developed countries, in improving understanding of impacts and making informed decisions.
William Ehlers, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), stated that the GEF has a strategic priority fund for adaptation actions that carry global environmental benefits. He stressed that projects assisted by this fund must show how adaptation planning and practices can be translated into projects with practical benefits. He noted that the fund was open to all parties of the UNFCCC.
|L-R: Olga Pilifosova, UNFCCC; Lorenz Petersen, GTZ; William Ehlers, the Global Environmental Facility; Jaime Webb, CBD|
|Lorenz Petersen, GTZ, noted fundamental flaws occur in national action plans, including: a bias toward planning as opposed to implementation; mismatches between national and global expectations; and only pilot projects being implemented.||Olga Pilifosova, UNFCCC, outlining the Bali Action Plan, noted that its areas of focus include: international cooperation to support planning and
implementation; risk management and reduction; financial needs assessment and economic diversification.
|Jaime Webbe, CBD, introducing the side event, noted that the impacts of climate change on species include: increased mortality; extinctions; life-cycle changes; and physiological changes.|
Protecting the Pacific High Seas Enclaves
Presented by Greenpeace International
Seni Nabou, Greenpeace, explained the importance of Pacific fisheries to propagating fish stocks and to local livelihoods, and underscored the dangers to both posed by overfishing. She called on the CBD to adopt the criteria and steps for marine areas in need of protection in open ocean waters and deep sea habitats, and urged the UN General Assembly to ensure that high seas marine reserves are respected by all countries.
Albon Ishoda, Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority, praised the recent third implementing agreement by parties to the Nauru Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Management of Fisheries of Common Interest (PNA), a regional agreement between eight Pacific island states to ban foreign fishing boats from four high seas pockets adjacent to their exclusive economic zones. It also bans the use of aggregating devices that corale fish using sonar, and requires boats to carry observers. The PNA, he explained, hope to encourage the Tuna Commission to promote this approach more widely.
Joeli Veitayaki, University of the South Pacific, welcomed the measures by PNA and called on others to support them. Turning to the islands’ customary stewardship practices, he highlighted that islanders own their fishing grounds, have an intimate knowledge of the sea and revere local protocol. He explained that contemporary challenges include the erosion of customary law, overexploitation of local marine resources and lack of enforcement capacity. Among means to address these, he raised the Micronesian Challenge and the Coral Triangle Initiative.
|L-R: Seni Nabou, Greenpeace; Albon Ishoda, Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority; Joeli Veitayaki, University of the South Pacific|
|Joeli Veitayaki, University of the South Pacific, discussed customary stewardship practices and contemporary challenges for pacific communities.||Albon Ishoda, Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority, praised a recent regional agreement between eight Pacific island states to ban foreign fishing boats from four high seas pockets adjacent to their exclusive economic zones.||Seni Nabou, Greenpeace, called on the CBD to adopt the criteria and steps for marine areas in need of protection in open ocean waters and deep sea habitats.|
The Future of GEF’s Biodiversity Program
Presented by the GEF Secretariat
Monique Barbut, GEF, stressed the need to elaborate an innovative strategy and argued that a global governance mechanism is a necessary condition for market tools to function property.
Gustavo Fonseca, GEF, explained that the CBD mandate has been incorporated into the current GEF strategy though funding of: sustainable protected area (PA) systems; mainstreaming biodiversity; safeguarding biodiversity; and access and benefit sharing. He noted that a number of systemic threats continue to endanger our biodiversity including: land use changes; climate change; the side effects of biofuels and agro-energy production; and the collapse of fisheries.
Michael Stocking, Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the GEF, on the scientific vision for GEF-5, emphasized the need to: expand PA coverage; improve linkages between PAs and development assistance; mainstream interventions; and increase synergies between different areas of the biodiversity agenda.
Joanna Durbin, Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, on reviewing the costs of conservation and priority action, reported that the estimate of the total financial needs for PA management is US$10 billion per annum, while the shortfalls amount to US$3 billion a year. She argued that proactive action is cost efficient, however, benefits are not always perceived as attractive by decision makers.
Song Xiaozhi, China Biodiversity Partnership Framework (GBPF), noted that cooperation and coordination is still a problem at the local level, and explained that the partnership will include national and international partners to ensure a critical mass of support and activities to halt the loss of biodiversity in China.
Ravi Sharma, CBD, on trends of official development assistance, noted that the funding for biodiversity has been increasing between 2000 and 2006, and added that 55% of the total was provided by Japan and the EU. He also noted that while “policy and administration” accounted for 52% of the total biodiversity spending, only 17% goes into “biodiversity conservation.”
Participants discussed programmatic approaches for the identification of priority areas and the need to reduce transaction costs related to accessing Small Grant Program funds.
|Ravi Sharma, CBD Secretariat; Gustavo Fonseca, GEF; Song Xiaozhi, GBPF; Monique Barbut, GEF; Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP; Michael Stocking, STAP-GEF.|
|Gustavo Fonseca, GEF, explained that in the absence of appropriate action, future extinction rates will be ten times higher that at present.||Joanna Durbin, Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, noted that global PA spending in developing countries is less than 5% of the US highway maintenance spending.||Michael Stocking, STAP-GEF, argued that the GEF-5 will need to prove its delivery of global environmental benefits.|
Indigenous Entrepreneurship and Biological Diversity
Presented by AVEDA
Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD, recognized the increasing engagement of business with indigenous and local communities and welcomed the further development of this alliance. He invited AVEDA to be the first company to sign up to The Green Wave being coordinated by the CBD to contribute to the Billion Tree Campaign. AVEDA representative, David Hircock, signed onto The Green Wave.
David Hircock, AVEDA, underscored that AVEDA is involved in business, not charity, but that their business model is founded on the quality of the environment and of the product. He argued that indigenous people do not need capacity building, but that it is business that needs to learn how to better engage local and indigenous people.
John Brebner, S & D Aroma, explained that his company’s role is to connect the knowledge of local and indigenous peoples and the associated products with the market.
Parbat Gurung, Himalayan Biotrade, thanked AVEDA for working with his community because of the ameliorative effects of the partnership.
Tashka Yawanawa, Yawana People Organization, sang a traditional song and stated that the partnership between his people and the private sector is helping his community remain intact and protect the environment.
Pamela Kraft, Tribal Link, announced the beginning of an indigenous entrepreneurship programme, and praised the Equator Initiative’s work in this area.
|Tashka Yawanawa, Yawana People Organization, stated that his community is being assisted by partnership with the private sector.||Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD, welcomed the alliance between business and indigenous and local communities.||David Hircock, AVEDA, signed onto The Green Wave being coordinated by the CBD to contribute to the Billion Tree Campaign.|
Integrating Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity into Strategies of the Financial Sector
Presented by the BMU and KFW Bankengruppe
Ladislav Miko, European Commission, on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity (TEEB) noted that the study, separated into two phases, was a global study to analyze the economic benefits of biodiversity including the costs of loss and failure to act in conserving biodiversity. He stressed that initial difficulties included the complexity of the study and that the science for biodiversity is less developed than the science for climate change.
Pavan Sukhdev, Deutsche Bank, noted that income flows can be generated for local communities through biodiversity regeneration. Outlining the economic impacts of biodiversity loss, he noted that the cost of policy inaction will lead to a decrease in welfare, equivalent to a six percent decrease of the OECD baseline GDP per annum. He noted three cases where ecosystem values were being captured, including the Panama Canal where shipping companies had paid to regenerate forests in order to decrease high insurance premiums caused by possible fresh water loss.
Olaf Weber, KFW, noted that KFW’s investment decisions are geared to follow the German government’s national sustainability strategy, including their national biodiversity strategy. He underscored that projects funded contribute to biodiversity and climate change issues by addressing issues such as rural poverty, development and energy efficiency. Stressing that the risks of biodiversity conservation also present rewards, he noted biodiversity offsets as a method to ensure that there is no net loss of biodiversity during the implementation of development projects.
In the ensuing debate, participants discussed topics including: methodologies of the TEEB; influencing policy decision using economic valuations of biodiversity; the costs and the valuation of action and inaction, and valuing cultural and social aspects of biodiversity.
|L-R: Ladislav Miko, European Commission; Pavan Sukhdev, Deutsche Bank; Heidi Wittmer, Helmholtz Centre - UFZ; Olaf Weber, KFW|
|Ladislav Miko, European Commission, noted that studies commissioned by the BMU and the EC contributed to the TEEB, including the science and cost of policy inaction, and ecosystems accounting.||Heidi Wittmer, Helmholtz Centre - UFZ , noted that while biodiversity integration is a double edged sword: any economic values determined for biodiversity are a lower boundary.||Olaf Weber, KFW, noted that financial institutions should: provide staff who “speak biodiversity”; integrate biodiversity into risk management; and use traditional conservation-promoting mechanisms to overcome market failures.|
Signing Ceremony of the Countdown 2010 Declaration
Presented by IUCN
Hilde Crevits, Flemish Minister for Public Works, Environment, Nature and Energy, thanked the German Minister of the Environment and IUCN for welcoming the Flemish community into the Countdown 2010 partnership. She stressed that the 2010 Target is ambitious and will require collaboration from all stakeholders as well as public participation. She also stressed that people from her region have supported forest conservation projects in developing countries though the GEF and bilateral projects.
Ignace Schops, Hoge Kempen National Park, emphasized that biodiversity loss has negative consequences, and that nature conservation and biodiversity can go hand in hand with society and the economy. He concluded by encouraging everyone to “think globally, act locally and change personally.”
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN, was presented with a prize from Hilde Crevits. She noted that awareness of biodiversity has improved dramatically since 1992, and said she was pleased with the attention being devoted to these issues.
Jan Stevens, Province of Limburg, stressed that Limburg has a tradition of strong biodiversity policies and noted that the engagement of municipalities in protecting biodiversity has been very successful, with all 44 municipalities “adopting” a local endangered species.
|In the evening, participants gathered to celebrate the signing of the Countdown 2010 declaration by Hilde Crevits, Flemish Minister for Public Works, Environment, Nature and Energy.|
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