International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
In Nagoya, Japan, where the COP10 (Conference of Parties) of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity, is being held, a landmark treaty has been signed by 193 countries on 30 October 2010. This agreement, again brokered by Japan is significant, if not more so than the Kyoto Protocol, signed in December 1997 in Kyoto. Similarly the United States, a major polluter and user of biodiversity resources has declined to join. The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Nagoya Protocol will pave the way towards conserving biodiversity which is a major tool for human development and poverty alleviation. This marks the beginning of a new journey to mainstream biodiversity at the heart of the development processes and priorities. In rice the ecological engineering approach that researchers are evaluating in China, Thailand and Vietnam have significantly increased biodiversity of arthropods and amphibians as well (Read: More Frogs in Eco Eng fields). The 65th United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2010 stressed the importance of healthy ecosystems for the overall achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly for poverty eradication. The poor populations will suffer, more than anyone else, from the impacts caused by nature degradation. In the pest outbreaks in Thailand and several rice areas in Asia caused by degradation of local ecosystem services, poor farmers were the ultimate losers (Read: Farmers trapped by BPH outbreaks).
The Nagoya Protocol sets new 2020 targets to expand protected areas on land and at sea in the hopes of halting the loss of animals and plant species across the planet. Countries agreed to protect 17 percent of land and inland waters and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas within the next decade. Currently, only 13 percent of land and less than 1 percent of oceans are protected for conservation. Other targets call for eliminating subsidies (like pesticide subsidies) harmful to biodiversity, managing fisheries sustainably, and minimizing anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs.
Under the Nagoya Protocol, access to genetic resources shall be subject to prior informed consent by the party that provides such resources. In addition, parties to the protocol are required to take appropriate measures in accordance with their domestic laws to ensure prior, informed consent or approval and involvement of indigenous and local communities is obtained for access to those resources. Details are in 2 documents, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (Read: Draft Decision on the Adoption of the Protocol).
Delegates in Nagoya also endorsed a request to the United Nations General Assembly to create an Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services that would produce scientific assessments on biodiversity issues. COP10 also agreed to include a strategic plan to reduce biodiversity loss by 2020, measures to fight invasive alien species, especially those introduced as pets, aquarium and terrarium species, and as live bait and live food, and to prevent deforestation.