Nagoya Protocol – A Global Treaty to Protect Biodiversity Endorsed by UN

K.L. Heong
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).

Participation in the Kyoto Protocol since June 2009. Green indicates countries that have signed and ratified, Grey not yet decided and Red country with no intention to ratify.

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).

A group of women farmers in Central Thailand who lost their crops to planthopper outbreaks and unable to repay loans.

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.


Hainan University Team Visits Jinhua Ecological Engineering Site

Wang Liang,  Economics and Management College, Hainan University, Haikou,
PR China

Hainan University team with Professor Zhu Zenrong (extreme left). From left to right, Wang Liang, Xie and Ma

The Hainan University team of the Hainanproject on conservation of arthropod biodiversity and ecosystem services visited the ecological engineering site in Jinhua.  We, Wang Liang, Ma and Xie, attended the workshop and spent a day in the demo site exploring the ecological modifications done to conserve ecosystem services. The site, started 2 years ago by Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (ZAAS), Zhejiang University (ZJU), Plant Protection Services of Jinhua, the local government of Jinhua and IRRI, held a national field day to communicate their findings (Read: E.E. in Jinhua gets national attention). The modified fields with sesame, various species of plants and flowers grown on the bunds attracted bees and parasitoids that can protect the rice crop from invading planthoppers and had reduced the need for insecticide use (Read: Rice fields with sesame grown on the bunds). The full details of the model farm was illustrated in a billboard in the site.

Billboard with details of the Jinhua ecological engineering site.

We found the visit to Jinhua extremely educational, especially the opportunities to interact with scientists from Zhejiang University and professor Geoff Gurr of Charles Sturt University, Australia,, who is a pioneer of ecological engineering methods.