Some participants’ hopes for COP10

by Winifred Bird

The Japan Times asked delegates and other COP10 participants what their top priorities are at the conference. Many mentioned an Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Protocol that is currently the subject of intense negotiations. This would determine how companies and researchers gain access to and distribute the profits from genetic resources and traditional knowledge gathered in other countries (for instance, plant material from the Brazilian rain forest used to develop medicines in Japan).

Shiro Kayano, President of the World Indigenous People’s Network AINU (WIN-AINU) Hokkaido, Japan

People need to pay attention to cultural diversity as well as biological diversity. We also want a strong agreement on access and benefit sharing (ABS). Finally, I hope people will take a look at their consumer lifestyle and use this as a chance to change.

Nathalie Rey, Head of the Greenpeace delegation to COP10 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

First, we need to agree on a strong Strategic Plan that will halt biodiversity loss by 2020, with goals for zero deforestation, ending overfishing, eliminating subsidies that destroy biodiversity, and protected areas covering 20 percent of the land and sea. Second is a strong ABS Protocol that respects indigenous peoples and includes a strong compliance mechanism. Third, we need action to address the plight of the oceans by 2012, and commit to 20 percent of oceans protected by 2020 as a key step towards our long-term goal of 40 percent.

Luca Montanarella, Soil Action Leader for the European Commission and Principal Editor, European Atlas of Soil Biodiversity Ispra, Italy

Our priority is soil biodiversity. There’s probably more biodiversity below ground than above it, but because it’s below their feet, people ignore it. We know very little about it, but we need to protect it (for our food and water supply, medical and other uses, and more). At COP10, it would be something just to get recognition that soil biodiversity exists. We’re far from any negotiations on this because policymakers worldwide don’t realize it’s there.

Paulino Franco de Carvalho Neto, Head of the Brazilian delegation for week one of COP10 Brasilia

(Our priority is) an effective ABS Protocol concluded here in Nagoya. The scope of the protocol has to include derivatives (of genetic resources), and also it’s crucial that we have a compliance mechanism. The Stragetic Plan and financial mechanisms are also crucial, but they are subordinate. We cannot have a strategic plan without an ABS Protocol.

Masaki Suzuki, Director General, Nature Conservation Bureau, Government of Japan Tokyo

We need to clearly define post-2010 goals for biodiversity conservation. As the host country and chair of the meetings, rather than taking one side in the debates, it’s important for us to pull together all the various countries’ positions and make sure that every country can actually put into action whatever goal we agree on. Completing a new ABS Protocol is another main goal for us.

Javier de la Torre, Director of Vizzuality, a data analysis company Madrid

I’d like to see some real commitments from countries to saving biodiversity. Also, we have biodiversity databases with primary data on what species live in what places and which ones are endangered, but sometimes that raw data isn’t public. We need to make the data public and back up reports and decisions with public scientific data. That would give transparency to the whole process.