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Opening Remarks by Angela Cropper, UNEP Deputy Executive Director at the 3rd Meeting of the Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Nairobi, 24 May 2010 - President, Distinguished Delegates; Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Good morning, it is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to this Third Meeting of the Working Group on Review of Implementation, to Nairobi and to UNEP.

You have an ambitious agenda before you. One which could define our development path and shape the course of the next decade or two.

I am pleased to address you at the Opening Session of your meeting. However, I am conscious of the fact that you are the experts in Biodiversity, and there is nothing I can offer you relating to either Science of Advocacy. But I do have some thoughts relating to Implementation, and since this is the remit of this Working Group, I will share them in the form of some questions to you, as you shape the course of the Convention for its next phase.

It is widely recognized that Implementation is too slow, that it lags way behind the speed of the driving forces for biodiversity loss, and at this rate, we will never bend the trends. Implementation is like a gentle, comfortable, smoldering fire, when what is needed is a conflagration of effort.

The challenge remains the same as it was in 1992 upon the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity: "How to stem biodiversity loss to maintain its contributions to ecosystem structure and function and direct/indirect contributions to human well being".

We now have a much clearer understanding of biodiversity's contribution to Human Well Being through concepts of ecosystem services and elements of Human-Well -Being to which they contribute, directly and indirectly.

But meanwhile, direct drivers of change have got worse. Ecosystem goods and services have declined and become more uncertain. Human Well Being has become more insecure - witness bouts of food insecurity as well as incidences of ecologically related disasters in the recent past.

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Further Resources

UNEP: International Year of Biodiversity

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)


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