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UNEP chief addresses high-level segment of Nagoya biodiversity summit

UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, addresses the high-level session of the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10), taking place in Nagoya, Japan - 27 October 2010

Honourable Ministers, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are in the final stages of this meeting.

We all know that an outcome is in the balance - increasingly the state of affairs in multilateral negotiations.

UNEP and partners are proud to have brought the latest science to the attention of the Parties before and here in Nagoya.

New mapping, linking carbon rich areas in countries with high biodiversity sites and important areas for livelihoods in support of REDD and REDD+.

And new economic assessments—for example, the final Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) report which is now being taken forward to the national level by nations including Brazil and India.

Or the Blue Harvest report—spotlighting the enormous and often overlooked economic, food security and livelihood-generating value of inland waters in terms of fish.

There are many avenues that may unlock these next two or three days towards the outcome the people and the species of this planet urgently need.

Finance is one key gear changer, including public finance.

But public finance's greatest potential rests on allaying this with forward-looking policies and signals that inspire and direct business and markets towards nationally-agreed environmental, development and social goals.

This is at the centre of TEEB and of UNEP's Green Economy work—it is at the centre of the promise of REDD and REDD+ and emerging areas such as the Payment for Ecosystem Services.

It is one reason why an International Regime on Access and Benefit Sharing of Genetic Resources is perhaps the litmus test of success of this meeting.

It is a vision shared across the UN and its agencies, organizations, programmes and funds through its Environmental Management Group (EMG) which I have the honour to chair.

The Executive Heads of the EMG are putting biodiversity and ecosystems front and centre stage of their work together in support of the decisions taken here and across the biological treaties over the coming months and years.

A point that will be underlined this week in a collective statement by the Executive Heads of the EMG, pledging to intensify cooperation and efforts in support of life on Earth.

In support too of that fundamental transformation of economies—from market-based to more centrally-planned ones—onto a sustainable development path.

Time is running fast here at COP10—the missing link now really is political will.

Unless we act fast and move swiftly, the future development paths for many may become increasingly challenging and the room for maneuver ever more slim as the future plans itself in ways we may live to regret.

Here in Nagoya and again in Cancun in a few weeks time, we still have the window of opportunity.

A window of time in which to forge a future based on purpose, principles of fairness and sustainability towards our fellow man and women and the wealth of life on Earth upon which we depend.

Thank you




Further Resources

Nagoya Biodiversity Summit

UNEP: Green Economy Initiative

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

Report puts economic value of nature on the global political radar

Carbon Mapping to curb climate change and boost biodiversity

Hardwiring biodiversity and ecosystem services into finance

Spotlight on world's 'Forgotten Fisheries'

UN-REDD Programme

UNEP chief addresses opening of Biodiversity summit

Statement by Biodiversity Convention Executive Secretary


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