Biodiversity is life and biodiversity is our life. This was the slogan of last year’s 2010 International Year of Biodiversity which culminated with the historic Nagoya biodiversity summit. Last October, thanks to the leadership of Japan, 18,500 participants representing 193 Parties and their partners adopted pted a package of important measures including the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits derived from their utilization.
The Aichi Targets were formulated in response to the message contained in Global Biodiversity Outlook 3: ecosystems are approaching tipping points beyond which they may be irreversibly degraded, with dire consequences for all life on earth, including humans. That is why the Targets relate not only to conservation, for example with respect to forests and coral reefs, but also relate to reducing direct pressures on biodiversity and, most importantly, addressing the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across all sectors of government and society. Overall, the Targets aim to bring about a profound change in our lifestyles, and particularly in our development paradigm – over the next decade we must move firmly away from unchecked consumption and toward sustainable use.
In order to engage the people of the world in achieving the Aichi Targets, the Nagoya meeting recommended to the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly to declare 2011-2020 the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. The Decade is now underway, and is beginning with a new wave of national biodiversity planning. Parties are now in the process of revising their revised National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) in order to incorporate the Aichi Targets.
To provide effective guidance on national implementation of the 2011-2020 strategy, these new NBSAPs must be formulated as soon as possible. Any delay in developing them will augur poorly for the achievement of the Aichi Targets. To enable the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its partners to assist eligible countries in translating the targets into NBSAPs before COP 11 in India, Japan has established a Japan Biodiversity Fund, which is now fully operational. Moreover, funds for national biodiversity planning have been made available through GEF-5.
Achieving the Aichi Targets by 2020 is an obligatory first step if we are to fulfill the longer-term 2050 vision adopted in Nagoya of a world where “biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.” Needless to say, it will require leadership and creative thinking from the Parties, national focal points, the Global Environment Facility and the CBD Secretariat to ensure the timely delivery of the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan at national and regional levels.
By establishing the Japan Biodiversity Fund, which is administered by the Secretariat, Japan as the President of COP 10 has demonstrated strong leadership. By agreeing to replenish the Fund for another year with the same amount in spite of the many new challenges arising in the aftermath of the 11 March 2011 Tsunami, Japan has displayed unprecedented political resolve to continue to play its role as a champion of biodiversity in the world. Thanks to the Japan Biodiversity Fund, a series of regional, sub regional and global workshops is being organized in all regions of the world to initiate the process of translating the Aichi Targets into national priorities and ultimately national laws and regulations.
Indeed, the leadership of the 193 Parties and their partners is urgently required for translating the Aichi Targets into national reality. For what we do – or fail to do – during this decade will determine the status of life on Earth for many years to come. Aichi Targets, a newsletter on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, is being issued to serve as a platform to share best practices and distill lessons learned in our common journey for the success of the 2020 Aichi Targets, thus shaping the way for achieving the 2050 Aichi Biodiversity Vision.
Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity