Statement by UNEP Chief to the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development
Theme: Ecosystem Management and Green Development with a focus too on Biodiversity
Beijing, 10 November 2010-Excellencies, honourable delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
We meet in what may prove to be a remarkable year in terms of humanity's relationship with the rich and varied life on Earth or in shorthand biological diversity, biodiversity for short.
Only two weeks ago, nations across the world meeting in Nagoya under the UNEP-administered Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) took a range of decisions-ones that may go down in history as a moment when we re-discovered the true value of the planet's natural or nature-based assets.
A moment when governments but also the private sector; cities and citizens may be said to have started to return and restore nature back to its pivotal and central role in the lives and livelihoods of six billion people.
2010, designated as the UN's International Year of Biodiversity, had embarked as a year of sobering and some might say frustrating and even depressing reality.
Not one country had met the target of substantially reversing the rate of loss of biodiversity.
A fact that probably surprised few.
Over the past few decades assessment after assessment- such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment- have reported that far too many of the dials on the Earth's life support systems have been pushing inexorably towards and in some cases into the red.
In May the Global Biodiversity Outlook-3, compiled by the CBD with support from partners including UNEP, talked of 'tipping points' fast approaching that in turn could prove irreversible for ecosystems such as coral reefs to freshwaters.