Prime Opportunity to Protect Life on Earth Today

Press release - 10 November, 2003
Greenpeace activists this morning unfolded banners that read:  "Protect Life on Earth today", while three Ents, the giant living trees that fought against their destruction in Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers, welcomed government delegates from around the world to the 9th Meeting of SBSTTA (1).

Greenpeace activists joined by giant trees called Ents, that fans will recognise from the Lord of the Rings, have welcomed government delegates from around the world to the 9th meeting of biodiversity (SBSTTA).

Delegates are gathering this week to prepare a work programme on protected areas for adoption at the "Summit for Life on Earth", the 7th Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in February in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to which SBSTTA is the advisory body.

"If protected areas are to really help protect life in the world's forests and oceans they must be adequately funded, well managed and must be expanded into global and comprehensive networks recognising the rights of indigenous peoples and other concerned communities," says Christoph Thies, Greenpeace campaigner currently in Montreal.

Complementing the banner, Greenpeace has also placed video screens on each side of the entrance to the building showing pictures of Greenpeace protests in Toronto and Santiago de Chile against plans by the Canadian company, Noranda, to build an Aluminum plant in an unprotected rainforest area in Patagonia, Southern Chile. Also last week Greenpeace released a report showing the ongoing rainforest destruction and related human rights violations in the Brazilian Amazon.

"These examples, and others we'll show throughout the week, illustrate the urgent need for more and better protection of life on earth. Governments need to come up with a strong work program on protected areas," added Thies.

The SBSTTA meeting is the last major meeting of world governments ahead of the Seventh Conference of Parties of the CBD. Greenpeace is urging delegates to: develop a system of global criteria and enforcement in which: money is provided for the protection of biodiversity on land and sea; moratoria are established on all sensitive areas as a first step towards their protection; and protection is legally binding and long term (2).

Notes: 1. Subsidiary body on scientific, technical and technological advise. Advises the CBD on issues pertaining to biodiversity. SBSTTA makes recommendations but the conference makes the decisions.2. See the Greenpeace document: Call for Action at the Summit for Life on Earth (CBD COP7, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 9-20 February 2004)