Wakao Hanaoka (left) briefs journalists at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya, Japan
Today, the Greenpeace delegation at the CBD summarized what has been happening here in Nagoya and reiterated our demands for a global network of marine reserves and for progress during the ministerial section of the summit, which begins tomorrow.
I briefed the journalists on the Japanese government’s role, as chair of this enormous meeting, and how biodiversity conservation is a huge challenge for them at the moment. Just recently, the Japanese Ministry of Environment announced that they will make a list of endangered marine species, a step forward, yes, but not yet action to save said endangered speicies.
Unfortunately, the government of Japan views our oceans and the life contained in them as resources meant to be exploited rather than a necessary provider of food and life that must be protected for the future. The Japanese market is where 80 percent of the world’s bluefin tuna is consumed, much of it coming from distant places such as the Mediterranean.
Next month, the major bluefin tuna powers will meet in Paris at the International Commission to Conserve Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). We at Greenpeace Japan are putting pressure on Japan to show progress there on issues of biodiversity conservation. The best way the government of Japan can do this would be to support the closure of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery. If we want tuna tomorrow, we need marine reserves today and Japan and ICCAT must support the creation of marine reserves in key bluefin tuna spawning grounds.
The negotiations here at the CBD are still moving quite slowly, but we are hopeful that progress can come with the arrival tomorrow of ministers. The oceans-related negotiations right now is focused on the targets for marine reserves cover. Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans- and is demanding the CBD agree here in Nagoya a target of 20% by 2020 as the first step to achieving that goal. Currently, the government of Japan is only supporting a 15% target for marine protected areas. If Japan is going to be a successful chair of the conference meant to save life on earth, then it has to get serious and start making commitments that would make it a leader now and not wait any longer.
If Japan and other governments here continue the sad cycle of political inaction, our already degraded oceans will be unable to sustain future generations. Instead of healthy, living waters full of fish that can feed humankind, we will be left with warming, acidified oceans filled with jellyfish. To remind delegates here of this, we unveiled a new logo for COP10, below. (You can see the original logo here)
Hope remains, as tomorrow the ministers will arrive and hopefully rescue this conference from the brink of failure so that we can rescue life on earth. For us, saving life on earth at the CBD can be done.
Wakao Hanaoka is an oceans campaigner, working in Greenpeace Japan's Tokyo office.