The World is not on track to stop the loss of biodiversity

Opening statement by Civil Society Organisations – CBD Alliance: We fully support the statement of the IIFB, including the proposal to use international accepted terminology like indigenous peoples.
The CBD Alliance is deeply concerned to note the world is not on track to control the loss of biodiversity. And we cannot but notice that this Convention is not even implementing its own decisions. Worse still, in several cases, after good decisions are taken, issues seem to disappear from national and international agendas. Such is the case for agriculture, biofuels, and forests. The review of the implementation of these work programs and decisions should be standing items on the agenda of CBD COPs.
Agricultural biodiversity shows the beautiful result of the long relationship between indigenous peoples, local communities and farmers with biodiversity. We need to bring the focus back to traditional and small-holder agriculture, the rights of peasants and pastoralists, the seed diversity and knowledge that is controlled by them, and the CBD should be at the heart of this vital work. Recognising and supporting the customary rights, governance mechanisms and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities, women, peasants, fisherfolks, including ICCAs (Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Territories and Areas), is a powerful way of implementing the Strategic Plan.
Corporate-driven and often risky technologies will not provide solutions for global environmental problems. Instead, we should act to prevent damage to biodiversity wherever we can. That is precisely why the Precautionary Principle is at the heart of this Convention. The unwillingness of some Parties to take it serious is therefore tremendously worrying.
Specifically, a precautionary approach should be applied to synthetic biology, which will have grave impacts on biodiversity and traditional livelihoods in many developing countries, whose natural products would be replaced by the products of synthetic biology. It is already expanding globally, without any global or national public oversight or regulation, without capacity to perform adequate risk assessments, without consultation or information to affected peoples and countries. Parties therefore must not approve the commercial, non-commercial or environmental release of synthetic biology derived organisms, compounds and products.
Marine and coastal biological diversity is greatly endangered, dispite being a long enduring priority program in the CBD. Issues such as the impacts on marine and coastal biodiversity of anthropogenic underwater noise and ocean acidification, and the destruction of coral reefs must be addressed urgently. In the discussion on EBSAs, forthcoming decisions must be consistent with earlier CBD commitments to promote the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples, as well as to respect, preserve and maintain their governance systems, their knowledge, innovations and practices.
Implementation is the priority. A Pyeongchang Roadmap to ensure it would be welcome, if it reflects all Aichi Targets equally, and does not substitute them, nor renegotiate the Strategic Plan. Biodiversity protection must be a fundamental part of the new sustainable development goals, and be recognised in integrated targets as part of economic and social goals.
We would also like to warn against growing conflicts of interest within the Convention: implementation needs more funds at all levels: currently funding for delegates is decreasing, the secretariat is underfunded, and protection of biodiversity is not assigned a decent budget within the countries. Instead private funding is offered. We wonder what this implies: when delegates are sponsored by business to come here: will they speak freely? When the secretariat needs to organize workshops, will private funding define the agenda? When biodiversity is under threat in a country, will companies be able to offset their involvement in destroying it? We urge the CBD Secretariat and Parties to fully disclose all information regarding corporate contributions to these processes.
Countries must fulfil their commitments under the Convention to provide the necessary means of implementation, and redirect the billions of dollars of perverse incentives that support drivers of biodiversity loss, like industrial bioenergy, unsustainable livestock production, industrial monocultures, agrochemicals and GMOs, to protect biodiversity.

The World is not on track to stop the loss of biodiversity
CBD Alliance Intervention at the Opening Session of CBD COP12, 6 October 2014