The main meeting room at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan.
Hello there. I am Nathalie- an oceans policy advisor at Greenpeace, and I have the privilege of leading the Greenpeace team here at CBD COP10. It has now been more than a week that the Greenpeace CBD team descended upon Nagoya….. only 10 days- it feels much, much longer. It is not surprising it feels longer, since we’ve been following negotiations that go on till 10pm or later. No doubt caffeine sales have risen 10 fold in Nagoya this week!
Today is Saturday, and I am able to take the foot off the pedal – and have some space to reflect about the week gone by, to try to take stock of what has been achieved, and what lies ahead next week. Everyone is saying that progress has been slow and painfully slow in some cases. If governments continue negotiating at this pace, there may be nothing on the plate by the end of the conference. We can’t have another Copenhagen, so the late nights and caffeine are going to have to continue.
Previously negotiated texts (that were drawn up at a pre-meeting in Nairobi) have been reopened and unfortunately, key biodiversity protection targets for 2020 are being watered down or weakened. Targets are currently being discussed for a global network of protected areas: on land and at sea. Greenpeace is demanding the CBD have a target of 20% marine protected areas by 2020 as a step to establishing a network of 40%. Currently there are huge differences of opinions between governments- with some countries such as China arguing for as low as 6%, and the most ambitious countries calling for 15%. This is clearly not going to be enough. Scientists have already told us that unless we act fast in the next 10 years it could be too late to save some key marine habitats- such as coral reefs- and the damage would be irreversible. Greenpeace is reminding everyone her at Nagoya that a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the oceans is necessary to restore our oceans to health.
One of the main reasons progress has been slow is because many developing countries- including Brazil- are blocking movement on a number of issues unless there is progress on agreement on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources and financial commitments by developed countries. They even admit to this negotiating tactic! So- what lies ahead this week? It’s hard to say, a lot can happen in a week- and to get it right, there will have to be some more long days and late nights. Hopefully any unresolved issues will be dealt with by the ministers and Heads of State who will have their own negotiating sessions at the end of this week.
Governments really need to take a step back and have a look at the big picture. This is the planet we are talking about- this is our home- and we have the responsibility to look after it. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the wonderful natural treasures it contains, and most importantly we owe it to our kids, and their kids. As I look at the photo of my little girls on my mobile phone- (for the 23rd time today!)- I think to myself- I really hope we’ll not let them down. Help make that hope a reality by signing our petition to create more marine reserves: for the sake of their future
Nathalie Rey is a Policy Advisor at Greenpeace International, based in Amsterdam. Originally from the UK, she is the proud mother of two little girls- ages 1 and 4- both of whom need healthy oceans.