Action Anxiety

Feature story - March 17, 2006
Elvis had it right in 1968 when he sang the line, 'a little less conversation, a little more action.' Welcome to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), due to kick-off next week in Brazil.

Activists unfurled a banner from the famous Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro to call on governments to protect global biodiversity. Representatives from 188 countries are taking part of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) in Curitiba, Brazil, to discuss the protection of biodiversity.

In the 14 years since it began at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, theachievements of the CBD have been few. Every word, every comma, everyfull stop has to be negotiated, debated and then renegotiated by over180 countries.

In2002 at the World Summit on Sustainability Development in South Africa,the world promised to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversityloss by 2010 on land and 2012 in the ocean. Yet here we are in 2006,just 4 years away from that deadline, and they haven't even started the'Programme of Work', the main vehicle for the creation of a globalnetwork of protected areas Unfortunately, the world's plants andanimals are running out of time.

If reducing the rate ofbiodiversity loss was their promise in 2002, then 2006 is a wake upcall with life on the planet continuing to be consigned to the historybooks. Extinctions are now running at 1,000 times normal levels andwill increase up to 10,000 times normal levels by 2050 if urgent actionis not taken.

Whilst the delegates at the CBD slowly negotiate, we are working to stop biodiversity loss right now. Our ship the 'Esperanza'is in the Atlantic working to expose the pirate fishing fleets thatoperate without sanction across the world's oceans. Teams of activistsare also working in the heart of the Amazon to stop the rainforestbeing destroyed to grow agricultural products, such as soya.

Onthe other side of the planet, volunteers from around the world areprotecting the rainforests of Papua New Guinea. Working from the Global Forest Rescue Station, they are helping traditional landowners and eco-forestry experts establish the rights of traditional landowners.

The CBD needs to speed up its work to protect life on earth. The delegates need to agree without delay to:

Create a global network of protected areas on land and in the ocean.

Properlyfund the protection of life on earth and if additional resources can befound, help other countries in the protection of life on earth.

Stopbottom trawling on the high seas and vote in favour of a moratorium onhigh seas bottom trawling in the United Nations General Assembly.

Stop illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber products.

Share the wealth created from biological products with communities from which they came.

Ensure companies are held to the highest international standard of practice and not privatise natural resources

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