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Convention on Biological Diversity:Outcomes of COP9 and the Roadmap to "COP10 Nagoya 2010"

June 26, 2008


The ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was held in Bonn, Germany, May 19-30, 2008. The CBD is an international environmental treaty with three objectives: (i) the conservation of biological diversity, (ii) the sustainable use of its components, and (iii) the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resource (access and benefit-sharing; ABS). It was formally decided that the next meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP10) would be held in Nagoya, in 2010. Motivated by the common goal of achieving the 2010 Biodiversity Target (i.e. the Target to achieve a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010), delegates also conducted negotiations on some 26 agenda items.

Important outcomes of COP9 include the adoption of a "roadmap" to COP10 relating to the International Regime under the agenda item on "access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS)" and the adoption of new "scientific (evaluation) criteria" under the agenda item on marine and coastal ecosystems.

One of the topics that attracted the greatest interest was bio-fuels. Agreement was reached on a number of issues relating to the production of bio-fuels, including the maximization of benefits, the minimization of risk, and the improvement in social and environmental performance by the private sector. Under the agenda item on biodiversity and climate change, the establishment of a technical expert group was decided. The group is responsible for the input of information from the CBD to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change regarding mutual linkage.

On the basis of the outcomes of COP9, the stakeholders are already following the roadmap to COP10 Nagoya 2010. COP10 coincides with the deadline for the achievement of the 2010 Biodiversity Target and the deadline for the negotiation of the International Regime. As 2010 is also International Year of Biodiversity, COP10 will be a major milestone for the CBD. If COP10 elicits the appropriate response from the Parties, Japan, as host nation, will see its international standing rise, but if the response is inappropriate, there is a risk that any international framework adopted will be unsuitable.

With regard to the 2010 Biodiversity Target, the "Global Biodiversity Outlook 2" report published in 2006 found improvement in only two target areas for conservation: the scale of areas designated as protected areas, and water quality in aquatic ecosystems. There will be widespread interest in what measures are taken to redress this situation.

With regard to the International Regime for ABS, it is important that action be taken to ensure that the "Regime" scheduled to be adopted is not inappropriate. It was decided at COP9 that three meetings of Working Group and three expert meetings would be held before COP10. The expert meetings will make important decisions every few months on agenda issues relating to compliance, etc., up until COP10. Accordingly, those with a strong interest in biodiversity and ABS will need to monitor the outcomes of the expert meetings on compliance and supply information to the Working Group meetings.

Enterprises involved with biodiversity must take account of ABS in their strategies. In particular, they should, as far as possible, adhere to the content of the Bonn Guidelines on ABS adopted by the CBD and publicize the fact that their corporate activities adhere to the guidelines.

What is needed, before 2010, is a still greater effort to devise and implement conservation initiatives. Some observers feel that it will be difficult to achieve the 2010 Biodiversity Target. However, conserving biodiversity is an endless task. Some of those involved have begun to talk of "2012" or even "2050" as the next target. The countdown to 2010 has already begun, and the roadmap embodies the hope that, besides talking about what it has done in the run-up to 2010, Japan is expected to show leadership and come up with further specific proposals concerning what needs to be done after 2010.

For more information on the content of this report, please contact Mikihiko Watanabe, the Japan Research Institute, Limited.

Tel: 03-3288-4283

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