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ANIEC 2010 - Question 4

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What will be your message to the Heads of States meeting on biodiversity on 20 September 2010 in New York and to the delegates to COP 10?

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A Preamble for the Post 2010 Target Document [#482]
Aichi –Nagoya International Cyber Dialogue (ANIC Dialogue) 
Proposed Preamble for the Post 2010 Target Document

ANIC Dialogue wishes to submit to the Signatory Parties to the CBD a statement to be put at the beginning of the document stating the Post 2010 Target and the related Roadmap.
It is our belief that the CBD, which is one of the international conventions which treat a wide range of issues regarding the whole bio-sphere and represents the hope of a great number of people from all parts of the world about the building of a sustainable global community. The Post-2010 Target Document would be incomplete without a clear philosophy and an ethical position supported by all the stakeholders from different world regions, cultures and civilizations.
We have to ask the State Parties to express on their behalf, their common concern about the contemporary crisis of the modern civilization which caused the extinction of so many biological species by its homogenizing globalization based on mass-consumption, mass-production and mass-dumping.

Proposed Text of the Preamble:

  The CBD is based on the basic adea that humankind is responsible for the global trends causing the rapid reduction of bio-diversity. The Post-2010 Document should state clearly at its outset that humankind has the power to improve or destroy life on earth and its diversity. The most important question regarding the diversity of life is the conception about the relationship between humans and nature, or more precisely between human beings and other living beings, held by all the decision-makers involved in implementing the CBD.

During the past century, modern civilization spread throughout the world a conception of nature which cuts all the ties linking humans and other beings, opposes both and make the former control the latter through different scientific technologies.
As a consequence of this conception, the industrialized countries achieved an unprecedented high level of material wellbeing. Yet this life-style led to the extreme consumption of non-renewable energy resources (petrol, uranium, etc.) and became in itself unsustainable. It is indispensable to make a critical re-assessment of the relationship between this dichotomous opposition of human-beings and other living beings, or between humans and nature.

The causes of the accelerated reduction of bio-diversity:
As a result of this opposition between humans and nature, the former began to believe that nature was at their service and that all living-beings were mere commodities. This was why, humankind began to use without any constraints, except their technological capability, the biological and non-biological resources composing nature. It was as a consequence of this deregulated process that the diversity of life began to decrease and many species face, now, the danger of extinction. It has become undeniable that the accelerated reduction of bio-diversity is the consequence of the human activities. It was an unavoidable consequence of the selective exploitation of the bio-sphere by humankind using selectively biological services by distinguishing useful and harmful species. This over-exploitation of nature was conducted in such an extent that the complex interrelationships among the diverse species which lived in a state of close interdependence began its decay and the sustainability of the eco-system sustainable was shattered.

The Knowledge aspects:
The pseudo-scientific reductionism ignoring the interrelations among different organisms remains predominant in scientific technology even after ecology began to point out the danger of this reductionism.  This ignorance of the complex interdependence among species in the eco-system where bio-diversity flourishes, continues to prevail still today, among the scientific experts, the business leaders and the planners developing scientific technology, in spite of the increasing awareness about the imminent ecological crisis. This insensibility to complex ineterdependences among the living-beings is quite alien from the wisdom of peoples living close to nature, in the mountains, forests or lakes and seas. They strongly feel that their life depends on the relationship among the diverse species living with them in the same environment.

Their respect and awe towards the biological community they belong to is based on their every-day life experience, and their “animism” should not be considered as non-scientific. The danger of the diversity of life began when humankind forgot that human species are part of the eco-system within which the different species exchange their resources, which should not be considered selfishly by humans as biological services provided by nature, only for the benefit of humankind. The Western epistemology opposing humankind which derives from God the right to use and abuse nature in the name of their stewardship should be critically reassessed, and the meaning of genuine meaning of “stewardship” should be made clear, in such a way that it does not contradict the belief that humankind is part of the biological community, on equal footing with other species and organisms.

The Consequences of Globalization:
The rapid development of IT, the emergence of MNCs, and the prevalence of the financial sector in global economy was followed by the emergence of an uncertain and uncontrollable world where the primacy of the financial market led to the destruction of the local common social capitals. The MNCs often larger than small states caused a moral hazard, through their money game, to the international system where the nation states were no more capable of playing their public role in representing the public interest and in distributing public goods.

The deregulation of the state control led to the prevalence of private over public interests. The globalization of the international economy spilled over society and culture, and the cultural diversity, which is a basic condition of bio-diversity, was hamppered by the emergence of a homogenizing and standardizing global market culture.

The Need of a Resurgence of Cultural Diversity:
It is necessary, for the post-2010 Target Document, to revisit and main-stream the different knowledge systems which preexisted to the present global modern market civilization. The indigenous peoples continue even today to reject the concept of appropriation and possession of nature by humans. Biological resources and services cannot be owned by anybody, and should be utilized by everybody.

The cultural difference between the rapidly growing Capitalist Europe and the Asian bio-sustainable subsistence economies has to be understood by all parties, and a synthesis of the two must become the target to aim at in the post-2010 context. The subsistence economies in Asia enabled the massive transfer of surpluses to Europe since the 16 century. This transfer was possible thank to the richness of the pre-Capitalist economies of the different Asian societies. This colonial situation developed into an increasing dependence of the Asian subsistence economies on the industrial economy of the West, leading to the demise of the Asian life-sustaining economies which had been exchanging services with the different species in the eco-system and thus producing a self-sustaining economic culture.

There is still a large area in Asia and in Africa where life-sustaining subsistence economies continue to operate. Truly enough, their integration in the global economy is a condition for these economies to receive the dividend of global wealth and overcome their poverty, but the global economy must integrate the life-sustaining aspects of subsistence economy if it wants to become bio-sustaining and eco-sustainable. The poverty of the subsistence economic sectors of the world which covers its majority has to be overcome while keeping alive the life sustaining aspects of these communities for bio-diversity to cease to decrease under the pressure of the present globalized market economy.  This is one of the major questions which the State-Parties to the CBD have to face in defining their Post-2010 target.

The Need of a Revival of Commons and Local Economies:
To maintain active bio-sustainable subsistence local economies under the pressure from the global economy is extremely difficult, and requires a reactivation of the commons. The “satoyamas” in some Asian countries like Japan are good examples of such commons where the cyclical use of forest resources maintained a sustainable eco-system. A traditional, often implicit, knowledge-base about the use of local biological resources accumulated through the ages was combined with religious manifestations of the community belief in sustainable mutual exchange of services between the different species in the bio-region. This common utilization of natural resources by the local commons was disturbed by the emergence of the modern state guaranteeing private property. Their legal ground was removed and their knowledge-base was treated as pre-modernresidues of feudal obscurantism.

In spite of all the opposite trends of the present neoliberal global economy, the local traditions of commons have to be reactivated by the common efforts of local citizens who genuinely hope to stop the rapid decrease of bio-diversity through their efforts to develop an ecologically healthy and locally sustainable economy. Any global effort to maintain bio-diversity cannot succeed unless it is based on the local efforts to rebuild the commons in their respective bio-regions by citizens in alliance with local business and local administration.

It is impossible to cope with the diversity of local bio-regions through a global, international or national standardization and   regulation. The local bio-regions have to become the basic units for decision-making in support of bio-diversity. This is where the principle of “subsidiarity” which makes responsible the smaller unit on the lower echelon in local decisions, leaving the higher echelon institutions the responsibility which cannot be exercised on the lower echelon due to the size of the eco-system concerned or the need to mobilize broader cooperations, locally, nationally, regionally or globally.

Bio-diversity plays a role on all these different echelons, compact eco-systems like “satoyamas” constitute the basis of a multi-level system. For the fish and migratory birds, territorial waters and air-space sovereignty are meaningless concepts. Even for the CBD which has to be based on the state-parties, the implementation of its different clauses requires the participation of citizens and other local stakeholders, agents and agencies. Their bottom-up cooperation relating the local to global through a multi-levels and multi-echelons governance structure, working  according to the “subsidiarity” principle, is the golden rule which should guide the Post-2010 Roadmap.

The Task Ahead:
The principles of bio-regionalism and of natural Capitalism should be adopted in defining the multiplicity of units and complexity of the systems in the indicator-building, of prediction and planning of the Post-2010 Roadmap. The eco-cultural diversities of the bio-systems and of the cultures lived by its inhabitants, especially of the indigenous and traditional local communities, have to become the cornerstones of a subsidiary local to global bio-diversity sustaining structure. The reproduction of this system can only be guaranteed if the use of biological services is strictly limited to their dividends avoiding to touch the social capital.

  The above stated description of the historical process of the bio-diversity reduction and the principles following its critical assessment are proposed here as points for consideration by the state-parties to the CBD in their decision to prepare a document specifying the Goal and Road-Map towards 2020.

The Aichi Nagoya International Cyber Dialogue
(ANIC Dialogue)
posted on 2009-11-13 07:40 UTC by Mr. Reita Furusawa "Aichi Nagoya International Cyber Dialogue (ANIC Dialogue)", Chubu University, RCE Chubu (UNU's Regioal Centre of Expertise on ESD)
RE: A Preamble for the Post 2010 Target Document [#517]
thank you for this document!
I especially like this sentence:

The Post-2010 Document should state clearly at its outset that humankind has the power to improve or destroy life on earth and its diversity.

I hope we still have the power to improve life on earth. We need a lot more people with this intention to be stronger!
posted on 2010-02-15 06:55 UTC by Rosa Veenbaas, Nagoya University

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