Dramatic action by Greenpeace focuses world’s attention on protecting life on Earth

Press release - 16 March, 2006
Greenpeace activists hung a huge banner on the hand of the famous statue of Christ, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, today which read ‘The future of the planet is in your hands’ to demand that governments act to protect life on Earth and ensure a safer future for the planet.

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.

The message was addressed to representatives of 188 governments that are meeting in Brazil to discuss the protection of global biodiversity.

In the run up to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), representatives of 132 member states of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety are struggling to reach an agreement on standards for labelling and identification of international shipments of genetically engineered organisms in food and feed. Such standards, crucial to protect health and biodiversity from the risks of GMOs, had previously been blocked by Brazil and New Zealand.

"The Brazilian government has been convinced of the need for meaningful labelling - it's now time that New Zealand did so too", said Benedikt Haerlin, of Greenpeace International's delegation. "We are also concerned that Mexico is about to take on a new obstructionist role. It is a dramatic struggle against a background of industry and US pressure. We will only know at the last minute if the biodiversity of the planet and especially the interests of developing countries will prevail."

On the 14th anniversary of the first CBD, governmental delegations from around the world will negotiate a series of crucial issues central to achieving the 2010 'Biodiversity Target' to stop the dramatic loss of the planet's biodiversity. Environmental Ministers from 188 countries will arrive in Curitiba on 26th March for a reception with Brazilian President, Lula Inacio Luiz da Silva.

"We can't wait another 14 years for the world's governments to act. They have to halt the mass extinction of animals and plants around the world immediately, otherwise future generations will be denied the economic, social & cultural benefits of a healthy planet" said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon campaign coordinator.

The diversity of both terrestrial and marine life is being destroyed at an unprecedented rate. The current extinction rate of plant and animal species is approximately 1,000 times faster than it was in pre-human times and is predicted to be 10,000 times faster by the year 2050. This loss of biodiversity prevents ecosystems from functioning properly.

As Governments talk in Brazil, Greenpeace is on the frontline protecting life on Earth. Teams of activists are working in the heart of the Amazon and Paradise Forests to stop the rainforest being destroyed through logging and deforestation for agricultural crops, such as soya. Greenpeace is calling on world governments to live up to their promise to set up a global network of protected areas on land and across the world's oceans, to protect life on earth.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions essential to a green and peaceful future.

Other contacts: Tica Minami, Media officer for Greenpeace Amazon Campaign +55 92 8114 4517 Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Coordinator +55 92 8115 8928 Benedikt Haerling, Greenpeace International Genetic Engineering Campaigner + 55 519 682 3117

VVPR info: Photographs available from the Greenpeace International Photo Desk, +31 653 819 255

Notes: 1. The Summit for Life on Earth is the 8th meeting of the 188 governments that have ratified an international environmental agreement called the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The most notable country that has not ratified this agreement is the United States of America. 2. The CBD, together with the United Nations ClimateChange Convention, was born out of the Earth Summit inRio de Janeiro in 1992. The CBD is the only global agreement that covers the need to conserve, sustainable use and equitably share all aspects of biodiversity: both marine and terrestrial. It is also the first to recognise that the conservation of biological diversity is “a common concern of humankind” and is an integral part of sustainable development. The convention also includes the need to protect the knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities and encourages traditional use of natural resources (e.g. rubber tapping).

Exp. contact date: 2006-03-30 00:00:00