Remarks by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director at the opening session of the High Level Segment of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity Tue, Oct 16, 2012

Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh

Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. E. S. L. Narasimhan

Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy

Minister of the Environment and Forests of India, Ms. Jayanthi Natarajan

Minister of Environment of Japan, Mr. Hiroyuki Nagahama

Executive Secretary of the CBD, Mr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias

Honourable Ministers, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen

We meet two years after COP10 in Nagoya, Japan where the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the 20 Aichi targets, the Strategy for Resource Mobilization and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefits Sharing were adopted.

We meet too as Member States take forward the outcomes of the June Rio+20 Summit at the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Both events and the processes underpinning them are mutually supportive and underline both the challenges and opportunities of the next few years for accelerating, scaling up and recalibrating sustainable development.

We are living through a moment in history where many of the risks foreseen over the past 40 to 20 years are fast becoming realities. All too often we seem unable to find the ambition and the actions to reverse this trend. Meanwhile the on-going financial and economic crisis is affecting far too many countries, and potentially undermining our determination.

Despite its  shortcomings Rio+20 opened some fresh pathways, sparked by a great deal of new analysis and policy directions, not least from scientists, economists and policymakers within this community of delegates here in Hyderabad.

The High-Level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the Strategic Plan, co-sponsored by the governments of the United Kingdom and India, not only identified the costs of meeting the Aichi targets, but also underlines the essential contribution that achieving the Aichi targets would make to meeting the objectives of many sectoral policies.

All this builds upon the work of  The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) which is gaining traction across the globe. TEEB is enlightening us about the wealth of the natural world and is helping to bring the strategic plan and Aichi targets from the fringe into the mainstream; making yet another sound and solid case for an inclusive Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication as one important 'tool' for realizing a sustainable century.

The Rio+20 outcome processes underway in New York are pointing in the same direction-a new indicator of wealth beyond GDP including the Inclusive Wealth Index; sustainable development goals to bring the North and the South in common cause and sustainability reporting by corporations to name but three.

The outcome document of Rio+20, The Future we Want, stresses the importance of a healthy marine environment for sustainable development. I am confident that here, in Hyderabad, Parties to the CBD will build upon this guidance received in Rio, supporting the guidelines for the management of marine biodiversity and the process for depositing ecologically and biologically significant areas summary reports in the appropriate fora.

Following upon the decisions made in Nagoya it is also essential that Governments ratify or accede  to the Nagoya Protocol on ABS without further delays, at the same time enacting the necessary domestic rules and legislation to make it operational. 

In support of the Strategic Plan and the Aichi targets, National Biodiversity Strategies and Actions Plans (NBSAPs) are being revisited and brought up to speed. UNEP is delighted to be supporting many countries in developing their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, contributing to their efforts to identify appropriate indicators and design associated monitoring schemes. In doing so in many cases we partner with the Global Environment Facility, with UNDP and the CBD Secretariat to support these important endeavours.

There are further positive steps that also speak to the power of partnership in this case among the biodiversity-related conventions.

Other biodiversity related treaties, such as the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species and the Convention on Migratory Species, are feeding into the process rather than carrying out their own national planning exercises.

This is a first positive response to the request by Heads of State at Rio+20 to "promote more synergies among MEAs" in order to reduce duplication, boost effectiveness and efficiency and maximize the impact of scarce financial resources.

Your Excellency Prime Minister, Honourable delegates,

The High-Level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources has given us all a good global assessment of the likely resources needed at all levels to achieve the Aichi targets, but alongside resources, the greatest barrier to the achievement of the strategic plan is the political will to act.

The urgency is to boil down action across sectors and ministries above and beyond environment ones.

An urgent need is too to bring the experience and enthusiasm of the enlightened private sector into the challenge of resource mobilization for the strategic plan and the realization of the Aichi targets in just eight years time.

Biodiversity is essential for sustainable development, in particular for the poor of the world. I call upon you all to develop NBSAPs, to protect our marine environment, and to operationalize the principles of access and benefits sharing - integrating all this into national development plans as key elements of our common endeavor towards sustainable development and the reduction of poverty. This is The Future we Want.

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