A Special Report on Selected Side Events at the
19-30 May 2008 | Bonn, Germany
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Events on Friday, 30 May 2008
Building on the Lisbon Conference on Business and Biodiversity
Presented by Countdown 2010, Government of Portugal and the EC
Humberto Rosa, Secretary of State of the Environment, Portugal, suggested that the main reason biodiversity has less profile than climate change is because, unlike climate change, biodiversity is not perceived to be linked to the economy. In this context, he introduced the outcomes of the High-level Conference on Business and Biodiversity, held in November 2007, in Lisbon. He explained that the conference highlighted the understanding between the public and private sectors on the critical importance of biodiversity, and action required to stem the global biodiversity crisis. He said it marked a shift in thinking on the role of business in biodiversity conservation.
Hitoshi Murakami, Nippon Keidanren, detailed the efforts undertaken by Nippon Keidanren towards promoting biodiversity conservation. He explained that in 2003, Nippon Keidanren made a declaration to promote biodiversity conservation which allows for economic growth. He highlighted that implementation takes the form of a committee allocating funds from the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund to projects in China, the Pacific and Japan. Most of the projects, he explained, focus on afforestation, desertification mitigation and environmental education.
Ambassador Thomas Kolly, Switzerland, explained that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Swiss economy, and for this reason they are very supportive of the Business and Biodiversity initiative. He explained the development leading to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development making loans to SMEs in Eastern Europe, particularly in support of organic farming and ecotourism. He said that he hopes this approach will be adopted by private sector institutions.
Patrick Murphy, European Commission, congratulated Portugal for hosting the Business and Biodiversity conference, and said that the EC has its own platform to promote similar synergies. He argued that the present framework is incoherent, deterring business’ engagement, and called for greater integration between the disparate frameworks and the development of a universal gold standard. Murphy then argued that the economic case for biodiversity remains to be made and called for the further development of triple bottom line accounting systems.
Participants discussed a number of issues, including: opportunities presented by the links between climate change and biodiversity; supply chain management systems; environmental education; the role of regulation as a way to address market failure; the role of certification in biodiversity protection; biodiversity banks and “no net loss of biodiversity” offset schemes; and the EC’s future contribution to COP 10.
|R-L: Patrick Murphy, EC; Hitoshi Murakami, Nippon Keidanren; Humberto Rosa, Ministry of Environment, Portugal; Ambassador Thomas Kolly, Switzerland; Joshua Bishop, IUCN
|Hitoshi Murakami, Nippon Keidanren, detailed the efforts being undertaken by Nippon Keidanren towards promoting biodiversity conservation, which include afforestation, desertification mitigation and environmental education.
|Ambassador Thomas Kolly, Switzerland, pledged his country's continued support for biodiversity-promoting business.
|Humberto Rosa, Secretary of State of the Environment, Portugal, introduced the outcomes of the High-level Conference on Business and Biodiversity, held in November 2007, in Lisbon which he said marked a shift in thinking on the role of business in biodiversity conservation.
From COP 9 to COP 10 - The Way Forward on ABS and Plant Breeding
Presented by International Seed Federation, European Seed Association, and the German Plant Breeders’ Association
Frank Begemann, Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food, Germany, outlined the need for a European Genebank for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Stressing the benefits of establishing such an institution, he noted that these include: cost efficient conservation activities; reduced duplication of germplasm material; improved quality standards; and enhanced information sharing.
Shakeel Bhatti, FAO, presented the roadmap of ABS-related intersessional processes under both the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the CBD, adding that these processes are interlinked and mutually supportive. He highlighted that the implementation of the ITPGRFA can be used as an evidence-based reference point for the development of the ABS international regime (IR) and that FAO will host in Rome the seventh meeting of the CBD Working Group on ABS. He also invited the plant breeding sector to contribute to intersessional work, including by providing: studies to identify cases that show concretely how benefit sharing is implemented in a facilitated manner; inputs on how to facilitate technology transfer under the ITPGRFA; and comments on the information technology support work related to the implementation of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA).
Seizo Sumida, Research Institute of Biological Resources, Japan Bioindustry Association, noted that the road to COP10 had been comprehensively outlined. He highlighted biopiracy controversies within the access and benefit sharing arena, due to different authorization mechanisms that exist between projects and stakeholders. He stressed that an international framework to deal with these, and other issues of plant genetic resources was necessary, and that as future discussions progress, the options available will become clearer.
Kees Noome, Limagrain Advanta, expressed its concerns that ABS discussions could be “lost in complexity” on the road to COP 10. He noted that few discussions on the substance of the international regime have taken place and that most plant breeding materials fall under the CBD. He stressed that a main concern for industry is to ensure that varieties can be commercialized in all possible ways, adding that the SMTA under the ITPGRFA provides a good solution to this concern.
Discussions included: compliance issues, market failure and how these will be raised at COP 10; perceptions of compliance; the “dividing line” that exists between business and scientific research and where to draw it; and the relationship between the ITPGRFA, UPOV, and the CBD.
|L-R: Christoph Herrlinger, BDP; Shakeel Bhatti, FAO; Frank Begemann, Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food, Germany; Seizo Sumida, Research Institute of Biological Resources; and Kees Noome, Limagrain Advanta
|Frank Begemann, Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food, Germany, noted that a third of the world's gene banks are housed in Europe, and of the accessions present, approximately 30 percent are unique.
|Shakeel Bhatti, FAO, explained that the ABS mechanism under the ITPGRFA has been fully operationalized with high rates of transfers of materials from the FAO Multilateral System.
|Kees Noome, Limagrain Advanta, noted plant breeders’ concerns that if there is a new use from materials accessed from the country of origin further benefits sharing negotiations may be required.
Various impressions from around the venue
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