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Statement by the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Opening Session of the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity

Nagoya, 18 October 2010- Mr. President, Ladies and gentlemen, from Curitiba to Bonn, and from Bonn to Nagoya, here we are gathered as a community of nations representing the family of the people of the world at this largest, biggest biodiversity conference in the history of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

Here we are as a community of nations not for just another United Nations meeting, but for the most important meeting on biodiversity in the history of the United Nations. This is indeed a defining moment in the history of mankind.

As Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki stated "The problem of Nature is the problem of human life". However, today human life is a problem for Nature. Assembled at this historical Aichi-Nagoya biodiversity summit, we the 16,000 participants assembled today from all over the world, representing the 193 Parties and their partners, are called upon to address the unprecedented loss of biodiversity seriously compounded by global warming. To do so, let us have the courage to look in the eyes of our children and admit that we have failed, individually and collectively, to fulfil the Johannesburg promise made to them by the 110 Heads of State and Government to substantially reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010. Let us look in the eyes of our children and admit that we continue to lose biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, thus mortgaging their future.

The 170 fourth national reports received by Parties to-date confirm that we continue to lose biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. The third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook demonstrates that, today, the rate of loss of biodiversity is up to one thousand times higher than the background and historical rate of extinction. The report predicts that if we allow the current trends to continue we shall soon reach a tipping point with irreversible and irreparable damage to the capacity of the planet to continue sustaining life on Earth. The report warns that the status of biodiversity for the next million years will be determined by the action or inaction, of one specie, we human being of mankind in the coming decades.

As stated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, business as usual is no more an option for mankind. Business as usual is therefore not an option on the agenda of your meeting today. Indeed, as Albert Einstein said, "the approach that has created a problem cannot be used to solve it"; we need a new approach, we need to reconnect with nature and live in harmony with nature into the future. To do so, you are called upon to adopt the Aichi-Nagoya Strategic Plan for the next decade with a vision for 2050. This is not another plan; it will be, as recommended by last month's historic New York summit on biodiversity, the overarching coordinated global biodiversity framework of the whole biodiversity family, including the United Nations system. "Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean," said Ryunosuke Satoro.

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Further Resources

Tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (COP 10)

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)


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