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• 08•11•2010 •

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CBD / COP 10

Nagoya, 18 - 29 October 2010

Updated 8 November 2010

ECO @ COP 10
CSO Newsletters


10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Nagoya, 18 - 29 October 2010

Draft Decisions of COP 10

Draft COP 10 Agricultural Biodiversity Decision

Latest news on UndercoverCOP - click here

In session Documents, Draft Decisions, CRP papers etc


Recommendations to COP 10 on Agricultural Biodiversity

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COP10 will review the CBD programme of work on agricultural biodiversity. We have the following recommendations:

(1) Support Ecological Food Provision

 At COP 10, Parties must focus on implementation, explicitly supporting the maintenance and development of small-scale, ecological food provision methods, in the framework of food sovereignty, that sustain agricultural biodiversity at all levels in situ, on-farm, in all regions. This means:


• supporting, through CBD decisions and implementation, the organisations of the small-scale food providers who maintain these systems;


• prioritising policies that promote, support and remove constraints to on-farm and in situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity through participatory decision-making processes, in order to enhance the conservation of plant and animal genetic resources, related components of biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems, and related ecosystem functions;


• protecting and supporting exemplar programmes of small-scale biodiverse food systems. While the Satoyama and GIAHS initiatives should be promoted in order to improve the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity, due care should be taken to ensure that these do not provide hidden subsidies to agricultural commodity producers, especially in industrialised countries;


• regulating, transforming or prohibiting any methods, processes or technologies (e.g. GURTs) that damage agricultural biodiversity and its related ecosystem functions;


• adopting the proposed strategic plan target on reducing excess nutrients (nutrient loading) and pesticides to non-detrimental levels for biodiversity, adopting suitable indicators and suggesting the ways and means to implement it.


(2) Defend small-scale food providers access to and control over resources


Parties must defend small-scale food providers' access not only to seeds, livestock breeds and aquatic species, that are not restricted in use by IPRs or technologies, nor contaminated by GMOs, but also to territory – land, water, forests and coastal marine resources – in which they practice biodiverse food provision. They are being expelled from their territory through land grabs (for example for agrofuels) or other pressures. Several Parties are contributing to this dispossession, ignoring the rights of small-scale food providers to land and land security. Parties must include language in the final COP decisions [currently bracketed] that safeguards “land security”.


(3) Evaluate impact of IPRs on limiting biodiversity use and development


Parties must insist that programmes of work on agricultural biodiversity include assessments of patent trends and the use of other intellectual property rights, including plant variety protection, over plant, animal, and microbial genetic resources, and propose mitigation of their impacts.


(4) Implement the findings of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD)


Approved by 58 governments, the findings of the IAASTD are highly relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity. Parties must incorporate, and commit to implement – as a priority – the 22 findings, especially those concerning the multi-functionality of agriculture and agroecological approaches built on local knowledge, particularly women's.


Further information

USC Canada :

UK Agricultural Biodiversity Coalition:

ETC Group:


Contacts at COP10

Susan Walsh, Exec Director USC Canada

Email: Phone: +1 613 291 9793


Neth Daño, ETC Group, Philippines


Phone: +63 917 532-9369


Silvia Ribeiro, ETC Group, Mexico


Phone: +52 1 55 2653 333


Bell Batta Torheim, Advisor, Development Fund , Norway


Phone: +47 41 1234 04


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NGO/CSO Statement at opening of CBD / COP 10 – 18 October 2010

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Civil society groups were NOT allowed to make a statement in the  plenary at the opening of COP 10. Quite outrageous and unprecendented, given that it is civil society who, almost alone, actually implement the CBD. Ahh, the UN! So democratic!

NGO/CSO Statement at opening of CBD / COP 10 – 18 October 2010

Thank you, Chair.

We are pleased to make this statement on behalf of civil society.

Humanity failed to meet the 2010 Biodiversity Targets, and implement the CBD. The alarming loss of biodiversity means, we face compounding environmental, food, fuel, land, social, and economic crises. Addressing the root causes of biodiversity loss and social injustice requires a re-animation of the CBD. We need to articulate a bold vision, and forge a new path towards biodiversity justice. COP10 must be a turning point on that path.

Ever since Rio , Parties have lacked political will to implement the Convention, and there is still no evidence that the will exists today. Parties have also failed to contribute the necessary financial resources to stem biodiversity loss, and those resources still remain elusive today. Governments have allowed corporations and markets to control biodiversity.

We urge Parties to fulfil their obligations. Parties must agree to a strong and ambitious strategic plan.  This plan must contain specific time-bound targets. Parties must:

1.     Halt loss of biodiversity by 2020

2.     Integrate biodiversity and its pivotal role in ecosystem functioning and resilience in international institutions and agreements, and across sectors at national level.

3.     Protect and defend the rights and livelihoods of small-scale producers to address the fundamental inequities that underpin poverty and biodiversity loss.

4.     End deforestation, overfishing and destruction of natural habitats by 2020.

5.     Achieve a fully representative system of protected areas– especially marine protected areas –based on full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and women. All their rights must be respected, including free, prior and informed consent.

6.     Stop unsustainable agriculture and land use, including reclamation and conversion, and reduce nutrient loading below critical load levels.

7.     Halt the expansion of destructive industrial agriculture and aquaculture, bioenergy, biomass and other commodities.

8.     Ensure that by 2020 any utilization of wild flora and fauna is ecologically sustainable, legal and traceable.

9.     End current unsustainable production and consumption patterns.

10.  Defend, and increase genuine representation in decision making of, local conservers, users and developers of biodiversity.

11.  Eliminate subsidies, and perverse national and international incentives and projects harmful to biodiversity by 2020

12.  Increase government finance to support the above, rather than turning to market instruments.

Parties must:

  • adopt a legally binding ABS Protocol that will have strong enforcement and compliance measures that can stop biopiracy, respects and protects the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, and reject the primacy of intellectual property rules.
  • adopt the Ethical Code of Conduct for respecting the Cultural and Intellectual Heritage of Indigenous Peoples and Local communities that enshrines the right of prior informed consent.
  • establish a definition of forests and sustainable forest management that excludes monoculture tree plantations.
  • adopt and uphold moratoria on the development, testing, release and use of new technologies which pose potential threats to biodiversity, including geoengineering and synthetic biology.
  • focus on implementing decisions by developing compliance and enforcement mechanisms.
  • adopt the proposed United Nations Decade of Biodiversity.
  • avoid risky, unproven approaches like forest carbon offset markets, biodiversity offsets and the Green Development Mechanisms.

We are in solidarity with the Japanese civil society and their demands.

Parties must recommit to the primacy of the Convention's core principles: sustainable use, ecosystems approach, precautionary principle, and uphold the values of equity, justice and participation. The primacy of these principles is being eroded by other international mechanisms, Conventions and UN agencies that promote market-based approaches and quick-fix climate change solutions. Environmental rights are now embedded within the normative human rights framework. Each of you has the moral and legal duty, not only to implement the CBD, but also to do so by ensuring human dignity and well-being, of present and future generations.

The points that we have made this morning are contained in a CBD Alliance briefing paper entitled: Top 10 Issues for COP 10. We urge Parties to take forward these recommendations.

Mother Earth is not for Sale . No to the greed economy. Yes to equity, justice and biodiversity.

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Biodiversity: Variety as the spice of life – Guardian Editorial 20 October 2010

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•  Biodiversity: Variety as the spice of life – Guardian Editorial 20 October

Conservation is quite literally vital. This is a challenge that calls for serious science, serious action – and serious money

This has been the International Year of Biodiversity and a UN gathering in Nagoya , Japan , is getting under way, charged with launching a 10-year strategy to avert the collapse of fisheries, conserve the Amazon rainforest and check the spread of invasive species.

The auguries are not good. A few weeks ago, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature confirmed the capture and subsequent death of a rare antelope from the mountains of Vietnam and Laos . This animal – Pseudoryx nghetinhensis – was discovered only in 1992 and last spotted by an automatic camera in 1999. It has, however, never been seen alive by a working zoologist. So, it has been named and pronounced critically endangered by researchers who know almost nothing about it. Researchers know a little more about the crested gibbons that live in south-east Asia . They know that there are seven species in the genus , and that one is now down to 100 individuals, and another to about 20. These species have just been declared the world's rarest apes.

The story is no happier closer to home. In March IUCN confirmed that 9% of Europe 's 435 butterfly species and 11% of the saproxylic beetles that live in rotting wood are threatened with extinction, for the same reason that the crested gibbons could swing through the trees into oblivion: human pressure on habitat. Likewise, last year more than 1,200 bird species were classified by IUCN as threatened with extinction. Does it matter? Yes: civilisation is built on life's diversity. We survive only on the bounty of the living world and the rocks beneath, and even coal and oil were once living things. Biodiversity delivers fuel, fibres, fabrics, all food and most medicines: it also hums away unobserved, pollinating crops and recycling the planet's air, water and nutrients. Without the saproxylic beetles, the forests would be full of dead trees, and soon there would be no forests. So conservation is quite literally vital.

Extinction is a natural companion to evolution, but mass extinction is a dangerous strategy. Yet humans are unthinkingly obliterating the planet's species at a rate at least 1,000 times faster than normal, unthinking because this obliteration is accompanied by massive ignorance. Around 1.9 million species have been described, but nobody knows whether the world is home to seven million of them, or 70 million . This is a challenge that calls for serious science, serious action, and of course, serious money. Will this challenge be met? Britain once led the world in such science. The word from Whitehall is that scientific research which is " not commercially useful " is at risk in today's spending review. Such an attitude could hardly be more short-sighted, or more dangerous.


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Defend All Agricultural Biodiversity - it is much, much more than Seeds!

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PDF file - use Acrobat Reader Download Document as PDF (80kb)

The CBD is the defender of all agricultural biodiversity that feeds the world.

" Parties have much work to do: they must stop industrial agriculture, livestock factories, aquaculture and fisheries that damage biodiversity and prioritise work towards more biodiverse and ecological production, defending agricultural biodiversity and its ecosystem functions."

Agricultural biodiversity is, of course, more than genes and much, much more than farm seeds –  it is the whole interrelated complex and functions of living organisms and the ecosystems that we use for our well being and planetary health. Yet, along with much of biodiversity, it is being lost at alarming rates due the ravages of industrial production. This is the challenge for COP 10 – how to stop the violation of the biodiversity that feeds the world and sustains the planet. The CBD should be the global defender of this complex sub-set of dynamic biodiversity that is developed by people to secure livelihoods, food supplies and a resilient environment.


Agricultural Biodiversity is inclusive and complex

Not only does Agricultural Biodiversity include crop and vegetable varieties but also livestock breeds and diverse aquatic and marine species and all the pollinators, predators, soil organisms and others in local agroecosystems, indeed all the 5668 species found in a healthy rice paddy ecosystem in Japan , for example. All are important components of agricultural biodiversity and the ecosystem functions that it performs. It has been described in documents welcomed by the CBD as : “Agricultural biodiversity encompasses the variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms which are necessary to sustain key functions of the agroecosystem, its structure and processes for, and in support of, food production and food security .” And parties have recognised the “…special nature of agricultural biodiversity, its distinctive features, and problems needing distinctive solutions ". Parties have thus decided on comprehensive actions to address the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity at genetic, species and ecosystem levels.


Since the landmark decision in Buenos Aires at COP 3, Decision III/11 including its seminal Annex 1 on the relation of agriculture with biodiversity, repeated COP Decisions have defended, in its entirety, the conservation and sustainable use of this vital sub-set of biodiversity that humans have adapted and developed to sustain life on Earth. Agricultural biodiversity is a product of diverse ecological food provision and an essential component of sustainable and resilient production in local ecosystems. It is sustained through localised conservation and development by knowledgeable small-scale food providers, especially women. Agricultural biodiversity defends our food supplies in the face of climate change.


The CBD with FAO have developed processes that need more support

Under guidance from COP, FAO and CBD in close collaboration have developed norms, the International Seed Treaty (IT PGRFA) and programmes of work that aim to stem the haemorrhage of agricultural biodiversity. The CBD Programme of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity does much to improve conservation of essential components and functions of biodiverse agroecosystems e.g. pollinators and it could do more. It provides a broad ecosystem framework for the Multi-Year Programme of Work of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which covers all types of species from mammals to micro-organisms. It also provides an opportunity for the implementation of the findings of the scientific, peer-reviewed International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (IAASTD), sponsored by the World Bank and UN organisations and approved by 58 governments, that calls for a radical change towards more biodiverse and ecological forms of production.


COP 10 must act decisively to radically change the way agricultural biodiversity is used and misused

Parties at COP 10 have a significant challenge to defend their work on agricultural biodiversity from one that supports narrow proprietorial and sectional interests that would reduce local diversity, increase contamination of seeds and restrict access to these essential resources for food provision. COP must outlaw the privatisation of agricultural biodiversity, prohibit the release of GMOs especially in the centres of origin and diversity, and ensure continued access to seeds – it must ensure that the operative decisions on GURTs are not ‘retired' and that the moratorium on Terminator technologies is retained. But do not forget that Agricultural Biodiversity is more than seeds: there are equivalent threats to livestock, forest and aquatic and marine diversity and productive ecosystems that must equally be resisted.


Parties have much work to do: they must stop industrial agriculture, livestock factories, aquaculture and fisheries that damage biodiversity and prioritise work towards more biodiverse and ecological production, defending agricultural biodiversity and its ecosystem functions, in the framework of food sovereignty.


Agricultural Biodiversity is a vital component of the CBD's contribution to sustaining Life on Earth: the CBD's work on this must be implemented fully and urgently to meet the challenges of securing future food in a warming world.

For more, see CBD Alliance Briefing on agricultural biodiversity


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CRP-10 on Ag Biod with a few comments

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See CRP text with comments here

CRP-10 covers most of the issues but is weak and could benefit from stronger language – particularly related to the key role of small scale farmers and food producers' central role in protecting and growing agricultural biodiversity. More emphasis is also needed on bio-diverse and ecological food production, on-farm, and on moving away from the dominant models of industrial agriculture, livestock , aquaculture and fisheries.


- 6(d) : on IPRs – remove the brackets on IPRs

- 6(f): on link between the work of FAO and CBD on biofuels – remove brackets; and specific brackets on ‘land security'

- 8 bis : “Invites Parties and other Governments to take action to support FARMERS IN THEIR in-situ conservation of traditional AND LOCAL varieties, races and breeds as means to ensure food security and nutrition and support (REMOVE: traditional lifestyle) LIVELIHOODS OF SMALL HOLDER FARMERS, AND INDEGENOUS AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES” . (new text in bold )

- 6 (i): Revised text: Promoting the conservation, restoration and the sustainable management of [biodiversity-rich] agricultural landscapes, RECOGNIZING THE ROLE OF SMALL HOLDER FARMERS AND INDEGENOUS AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES , and Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). (new text in bold)

Additional recommendations:

- Paras 1-5: the " Endorses " option with regards to the joint workplan is gone, and has been replaced by the compromise language: "Notes”, and “welcomes the importance of..." etc. Use Endorses where possible.

- 1. bis: Stresses the importance of 'agrobiodiversity' (sic) [should be replaced with 'Agricultural Biodiversity']… is good. Endorses would be stronger.

- 6 (b): Should use the original language in Decision IX/1 para 10 (the text: " promote, support and remove constraints to on-farm and in situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity through participatory decision-making processes in order to enhance the conservation of plant and animal genetic resources, related components of biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems, and related ecosystem functions. ")

- 6 (k): The reference to IAASTD must remain, and be strengthened if possible.

- 6 (l bis) : “Compiling and disseminating information on the impact of trade-related incentives on agricultural biodiversity”. This is a welcome addition and must remain.

The term 'agrobiodiversity', used in 2 places, must be replaced by the correct CBD term 'agricultural biodiversity'

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Calling all governments with vision - the stakes are high and farmers need you!

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"Governments with a vision understand that diverse and ecologically sound farming systems are key to biodiversity conservation and hunger reduction. During COP10 negotiations, they must exercise their leadership by insisting on language and detail that strengthens the importance of agricultural biodiversity and the joint program of work with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The stakes are high and small holder and indigenous farmers are counting on their support."

Susan Walsh, USC Canada

Small holder and indigenous farmers' time-tested knowledge and practices are vital to the conservation of biological diversity. In particular the knowledge and practices of women farmers are indispensable. Their knowledge and practices are key to food security as well as to effective climate change mitigation and adaptation. Governments intent on stopping biodiversity erosion and feeding the nearly billion starving people on this planet must take a closer look at these central actors. If respected and supported, these farmers can show us how to work with nature in far more sustainable ways.

Plant genetic resources nurtured on small holder and indigenous farmers' landscapes and within farmer-run seedbanks, for example, are living laboratories of what can be done in the face of ever increasing climate extremes. In Ethiopia - a center of origin and plant genetic diversity - farmers select and breed up to 50 varieties within staple crops like sorghum on their farms, confident that at least some will thrive under growing conditions that are increasingly hard to predict. Andean potato farmers require a wide range of characteristics in their potatoes to ensure on-farm diversity that will pull them through the toughest of times. They thereby also conserve diversity in the world's 4th most important food staple. Nepalese farmers on high mountain hillside have identified a large number of wild and uncultivated foods that both supplement field crops with a short growing season and nutritional needs. These small-holder and indigenous farmers steward healthy soils all over the world that are capable of storing more carbon than even the forests they conserve. Next to oceans, fertile soils are the biggest carbon sequesters.

IAASTD, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development - funded by World Bank and UN and endorsed by 58 countries and over 400 experts worldwide - captures this encouraging news. It shows that small holders and indigenous farms can play an important role within changing climates. It also shows that next to the billions spent on industrial agricultural research and its products, the cost of conservation-based, ecological agriculture is extremely modest, and that it is affordable precisely because the system uses the locally available products nature provides.

What can COP 10 do?

There are several serious threats to this vibrancy that COP10 leaders must challenge within the Convention.

  • First and foremost is the active promotion of Green House Gas (GHG) producing, high tech food production models. These systems, with their expensive packages of seed and synthetic inputs, do not perform well on the heterogeneous landscapes of small holder and Indigenous farmers. They destroy their soils and often lead to indebtedness.
  • Equally harmful is the rapid expansion of land purchases and investments for three purposes: to feed foreign cities, to develop agrofuels for the automobile and energy industry, and to line the pocketbooks of speculators. More and more local farmers are being forced off their farms by the unabashed growth of these land grabs.
  • International trade regimes and rules that favour corporations also kill rural livelihoods and undermine local markets by undercutting local prices. In Ghana , for example, it is cheaper to buy a bag of frozen chicken parts from the EU than a local, fresh chicken. Perverse incentives and market mechanisms that commodify landscapes will have a similarly destructive result.
  • Intellectual property rights, national seed legislation and the threat of Terminator seeds are taking seed conservation and exchange out of farmers' hands. In doing so they undermine a system of seed exchange that is responsible for the plant genetic resource diversity we have today and to which we must hold on if farming is to have a future.
  • Last but in not least, genetically engineered, climate ready crops - based on the notion that a techno-fix is all that is required - reflect an business-as- usual approach that is responsible for the problems we are now so very anxious to resolve.

Governments with a vision understand that diverse and ecologically sound farming systems are key to biodiversity conservation and hunger reduction. During COP10 negotiations, they must exercise their leadership by insisting on language and detail that strengthens the importance of agricultural biodiversity and the joint program of work with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The stakes are high and small holder and indigenous farmers are counting on their support.

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COP decision on Agricultural Biodiversity agreed

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[From ENB Daily Update]

AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY: Delegates considered a draft decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/WG.1/CRP.10). They agreed to remove brackets on references to the revised strategic plan. On collaboration with the CGRFA on analyzing impacts of intellectual property rights (IPRs), PERU , opposed by CANADA , suggested adding analysis of the use of species important for food security in other sectors. The EU, opposed by the CBD ALLIANCE and NORWAY , requested deleting reference to impacts of IPRs on small-scale farmers. Following informal consultations, delegates agreed to review trends on the extent of IPRs over genetic resources, including relevant forest and rangeland genetic resources, including, where appropriate, the impact on food security when genetic resources are patented or IPRs are acquired for other sectors such as pharmaceutical, cosmetics and other types of industries.

On a Chair's proposal regarding promoting opportunities for sustainable productivity increases through maintaining functioning of agricultural ecosystems, their biodiversity and services, the EU suggested adding “including conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources.” Delegates agreed to delete language on compiling and disseminating information on the impact of trade-related incentives. Delegates also supported an IIFB request to invite parties to support “farmers” in in situ conservation of “local,” in addition to traditional, varieties, with BRAZIL requesting consistency with the CBD and relevant international obligations. The draft decision was adopted as amended.

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GeoEngineering Moratorium Agreed

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News Release
29 October 2010

Geoengineering Moratorium at UN Ministerial in Japan
Risky Climate Techno-fixes Blocked

NAGOYA, Japan – In a landmark consensus decision, the 193-member UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will close its tenth biennial meeting with a de facto moratorium on geoengineering projects and experiments.   “Any private or public experimentation or adventurism intended to manipulate the planetary thermostat will be in violation of this carefully crafted UN consensus,” stated Silvia Ribeiro, Latin American Director of ETC Group.

The agreement, reached during the ministerial portion of the two-week meeting which included 110 environment ministers, asks governments to ensure  that no geoengineering activities take place until risks to the environmental and biodiversity and associated social, cultural and economic impacts risks have been appropriately considered as well as the socio-economic impacts. The CBD secretariat was also instructed to report back on various geoengineering proposals and potential intergovernmental regulatory measures.

The unusually strong consensus decision builds on the 2008 moratorium on ocean fertilization.  That agreement, negotiated at COP 9 in Bonn , put the brakes on a litany of failed “experiments” – both public and private – to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide in the oceans' depths by spreading nutrients on the sea surface.  Since then, attention has turned to a range of futuristic proposals to block a percentage of solar radiation via large-scale interventions in the atmosphere, stratosphere and outer space that would alter global temperatures and precipitation patterns.

“This decision clearly places the governance of geoengineering in the United Nations where it belongs,” said ETC Group Executive Director Pat Mooney.  “This decision is a victory for common sense, and for precaution.  It will not inhibit legitimate scientific research.  Decisions on geoengineering cannot be made by small groups of scientists from a small group of countries that establish self-serving ‘voluntary guidelines' on climate hacking.  What little credibility such efforts may have had in some policy circles in the global North has been shattered by this decision.  The UK Royal Society and its partners should cancel their Solar Radiation Management Governance Initiative and respect that the world's governments have collectively decided that future deliberations on geoengineering should take place in the UN, where all countries have a seat at the table and where civil society can watch and influence what they are doing.”

Delegates in Nagoya have now clearly understood the potential threat that deployment - or even field testing – of geoengineering technologies poses to the protection of biodiversity. The decision was hammered out in long and difficult late night sessions of a “Friends of the chair” group, attended by ETC Group, and adopted by the Working Group 1 Plenary on 27 October 2010.  The Chair of the climate and biodiversity negotiations called the final text “a highly delicate compromise.” All that remains to do now is gavel it through in the final plenary at 6 PM Friday ( Nagoya time).

“The decision is not perfect,” said Neth Dano of ETC Group Philippines . “Some delegations are understandably concerned that the interim definition of geoengineering is too narrow because it does not include Carbon Capture and Storage technologies.  Before the next CBD meeting, there will be ample opportunity to consider these questions in more detail. But climate techno-fixes are now firmly on the UN agenda and will lead to important debates as the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit approaches.  A change of course is essential, and geoengineering is clearly not the way forward.”

In Nagoya, Japan
Pat Mooney: (Mobile +1-613-240-0045)
Silvia Ribeiro: (Mobile (local): + 81 90 5036 4659)
Neth Dano: (Mobile: + 63-917-532-9369)

In Montreal, Canada:
Diana Bronson: (Mobile: +1-514-629-9236)
Jim Thomas: (Mobile: +1-514-516-5759)

Note to Editors:

The full texts of the relevant decisions on geoengineering are copied below:

Under Climate Change and Biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/L.36)

8.  Invites Parties and other Governments, according to national circumstance and priorities, as well as relevant organizations and processes, to consider the  guidance below on ways to conserve, sustainably use and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services while contributing to climate-change mitigation and adaptation:
(w) Ensure, in line and consistent with decision IX/16 C, on ocean fertilization and biodiversity and climate change, in the absence of science based, global, transparent and effective control and regulatory mechanisms for geo-engineering, and in accordance with the precautionary approach and Article 14 of the Convention, that no climate-related geo-engineering activities[1] that may affect biodiversity take place, until  there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities and appropriate consideration of the associated risks for the environment and biodiversity and associated social, economic and cultural impacts, with the exception of small scale scientific research studies that would be conducted in a controlled setting  in accordance with Article 3 of the Convention, and only if they are justified by the need to gather specific scientific data and are subject to a thorough prior assessment of the potential impacts on the environment;

[1] Without prejudice to future deliberations on the definition of geo-engineering activities, understanding that any technologies that deliberately reduce solar insolation or increase carbon sequestration from the atmosphere on a large scale that may affect biodiversity (excluding carbon capture and storage from fossil fuels when it captures carbon dioxide before it is released into the atmosphere) should be considered as forms of geo-engineering which are relevant to the Convention on Biological Diversity until a more precise definition can be developed. Noting that solar insolation is defined as a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given hour and that carbon sequestration is defined as the process of increasing the carbon content of a reservoir/pool other than the atmosphere.


9 9. Requests the Executive Secretary to:
(o) Compile and synthesize available scientific information, and views and experiences of indigenous and local communities and other stakeholders, on the possible impacts of geo-engineering techniques on biodiversity and associated social, economic and cultural considerations, and options on definitions and understandings of climate-related geo-engineering relevant to the Convention on Biological Diversity and make it available for consideration at a meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice prior to the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties;

(p) Taking into account the possible need for science based global, transparent and effective control and regulatory mechanisms, subject to the availability of financial resources, undertake a study on gaps in such existing mechanisms for climate-related geo-engineering relevant to the Convention on Biological Diversity, bearing in mind that such mechanisms may not be best placed under the Convention on Biological Diversity, for consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific Technical and Technological Advice prior to a future meeting of the Conference of the Parties and to communicate the results to relevant organizations;

Under New and Emerging Issues UNEP/CBD/COP/10/L.2 :

4. Invites Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to submit information on synthetic biology and geo-engineering, for the consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, in accordance with the procedures of decision IX/29, while applying the precautionary approach to the field release of synthetic life, cell or genome into the environment;

Under Marine and Coastal Biodiversity UNEP/CBD/COP/10/L.42

13 Reaffirming that the programme of work still corresponds to the global priorities, has been further strengthened through decisions VIII/21, VIII/22, VIII/24, and IX/20, but is not fully implemented, and therefore encourages  Parties to continue to implement these programme elements, and endorses the following guidance, where applicable and in accordance with national capacity and circumstances, for enhanced implementation:
(e) Ensuring that no ocean fertilization takes place unless in accordance with decision IX/16 C and taking note of the report (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/INF/7) and development noted para 57 – 62;
Impacts of ocean fertilization on marine and coastal biodiversity

57. Welcomes the report on compilation and synthesis of available scientific information on potential impacts of direct human-induced ocean fertilization on marine biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/INF/7), which was prepared in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the International Maritime Organization in pursuance of paragraph 3 of decision IX/20;

58. Recalling the important decision IX/16 C on ocean fertilization, reaffirming the precautionary approach, recognizes that given the scientific uncertainty that exists, significant concern surrounds the potential intended and unintended impacts of large-scale ocean fertilization on marine ecosystem structure and function, including the sensitivity of species and habitats and the physiological changes induced by micro-nutrient and macro-nutrient additions to surface waters as well as the possibility of persistent alteration of an ecosystem, and requests Parties to implement decision IX/16 C;

59. Notes that the governing bodies under the London Convention and Protocol adopted in 2008 resolution LC-LP.1 (2008) on the regulation of ocean fertilization, in which Contracting Parties declared, inter alia, that given the present state of knowledge, ocean fertilization activities other than legitimate scientific research should not be allowed;

60. Recognizes the work under way within the context of the London Convention and London Protocol to contribute to the development of a regulatory mechanism referred to in decision IX/16 C, and invites Parties and other Governments to act in accordance with the Resolution LC-LP.2(2010) of the London Convention and Protocol ;

61. Notes that in order to provide reliable predictions on the potential adverse impacts on marine biodiversity of activities involving ocean fertilization, further work to enhance our knowledge and modelling of ocean biogeochemical processes is required, in accordance with decision IX/16 (c) and taking into account decision IX/20 and LC-LP.2 (2010);

62. Notes also that there is a pressing need for research to advance our understanding of marine ecosystem dynamics and the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle;

Geopiracy: The Case Against Geoengineerin g is a new publication by ETC Group that provides an overview of the issues involved. 


Have you joined the HOME Campaign against Geoengineering experiments?  You can do so now at


Diana Bronson

ETC Group

skpe: dianaetc

1 514 273 6661

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Brief conclusions after long Plenary

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30 Oct: CBD/COP10 in Nagoya was gavelled to a close at 2:59am this morning. Its outputs, though better than expected, have limitations: they do not do much to realise the original dreams of those who conceived the Convention but they do a little to restrain corporate excess and at least they keep the process moving forward.

• The Decision on Agricultural Biodiversity, for example, is very weak but at least calls on FAO to build on the findings of IAASTD.
• The Nagoya Protocol on ABS is agreed but with reservations from Latin America and Africa who are concerned in relation to the funding mechanisms about the commodification of nature, for example – the Protocol is drastically watered down with few benefits likely to be forthcoming for provider communities;
• There is, however, an agreed Moratorium on Geoengineering and other tentative steps to stem the haemorrhage of biodiversity by 2020.

All in all the outputs in Nagoya are many times better, though, than those that are likely to be achieved in other forums, for example the conference next week on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in The Hague or in Cancun in December. There will be plenty of analysis in the coming days…

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Results @ Nagoya CBD/COP10 – Biodiversity, Agriculture and Climate Change

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The results of the Nagoya negotiations - banning Geoengineering, supporting IAASTD and enforcing liability for damage caused by GMOs - underscore the value to all of us of this multilateral Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for sustaining life on Earth, even if they were less than we had hoped and caused significant concern among many delegates from Africa and Latin America, especially Bolivia*.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing and the 20 voluntary Aichi Targets **, the most publicised results of the conference, may halt the decline in biodiversity and its ecosystem functions by 2020 but other decisions could have more immediate impact.

  • Governments also agreed the Nagoya /Kuala Lumpur supplementary Protocol which makes corporations and others liable for any damage caused by the international spread of GMOs.
  • They agreed in the agricultural biodiversity decision to build on the findings of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development ( IAASTD ) which would ensure global food production becomes more ecological, productive and biodiverse, a point made forcefully in many CSO declarations and our CSO position on Agricultural Biodiversity .
  • They also banned any public or private geoengineering projects, experiments and adventurism intended to manipulate the planetary thermostat: the Royal Society and its partners should now be obliged to cancel its Solar Radiation Management Governance Initiative and put its weight behind the CBD process, recognising the collective decision of 192 governments that it is the CBD which should govern geoengineering policy.

The UK government / DEFRA , a strong supporter of the CBD, should ensure its policies and programmes also reinforce ALL these vital multilateral decisions and reduce its commitment to funding more REDD projects *** .

All in all the outputs from Nagoya are many times better than those that have been and are likely to be achieved in other multilateral forums including: the global conference in The Hague this week on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change , about which many CSOs have expressed concern; and the climate change conference , UNFCCC/COP 16, in Cancun in December, which will agree nothing of particular use for changing behaviours of the mega-polluters, unless things change dramatically.

The stakes are high and much could yet be achieved if the challenge of biodiversity conservation and development, realised to some extent in Nagoya , is explicitly added to what Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food said in his Guardian Blog on World Food Day about climate change and agricultural development being tackled in tandem: " We can improve the resilience of agriculture to climate change by combining diverse crops on the same farm, by planting more trees, and by developing water harvesting techniques to moisture the soil. The classic "green revolution" approaches should be fundamentally rethought to achieve this. Agriculture, now part of the problem of climate change, should be made part of the solution. "




* Despite the hype, there were very strong concerns expressed by several governments, especially from Latin America, that the new 'innovative funding mechanisms' that have been agreed may not deliver significant benefits to local communities; that they are thinly veiled licences to commodify and privatise nature; and that these mechanisms will also be linked to carbon trading in the frame of the climate change convention. Bolivia did the right thing in the final plenary and got good text into a crucial decision expressing concerns about 'innovative financing mechanisms' and against TEEB, a precious UK-supported project that will increase pressure to commodify and privatise nature; and Bolivia also managed to include the first reference in a formal UN decision to the energetic and purposeful Cochabamaba World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth . See ENB report of CBD/COP10 enb09544e.pdf


** The Aichi Targets include one on genetic diversity: "By 2020, the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species,  is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented  for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity;"


*** Below is the official statement from the UK minister. Others can unpick the language better than me but beware the "£100m for international forestry projects"… The money comes from the new international climate finance included in the Comprehensive Spending Review, which will include new money for the UK's contribution to REDD+ ... Many fear REDD will increase the commodification of forest carbon and is unlikely to reduce the exploitation and destruction of forests and their biodiversity, see, for example, Friends of the Earth International's December 2009 publication REDD Myths .

UK : Statement From Environment Secretary- New Agreement Reached In Nagoya

Source: Department For Environment Food And Rural Affairs

Published Monday, 1 November, 2010 - 03:53

Caroline Spelman today welcomed the new agreement reached in Nagoya for setting targets to protect the natural environment.

Caroline Spelman said:

"These have been long and hard negotiations, but we have successfully achieved a new global plan to help protect our natural environment. We have also agreed an historic protocol which has been 18 years in the making, establishing a regime where developing countries will allow access to their genetic and natural resources in return for a share of the benefits for their use.

"The new agreement states we will take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of habitats and species in order to ensure that by 2020 our natural environment is resilient and can continue to provide the essential services that we would otherwise take for granted. This will secure the planet's variety of life, our well being and help eradicate poverty.

"We have also secured an agreement to link climate change, global poverty and biodiversity together in protecting the world's forests, which is essential if we are to achieve our aims in these areas. This was a key objective for the UK and this week I announced £100 million specifically to fund biodiversity projects in forest regions.

"I and my colleagues from other EU member states have learnt the tough lessons from other negotiations and worked tirelessly at this conference to find common ground amongst nations so that this agreement can be reached.

"We will now take this binding framework forward and put the key elements into effect in the Natural Environment White Paper to be published in spring 2011."

-- ends --


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