On the final day of the Convention on Biological Diversity meetings that took place in Nagoya, Japan over the last couple of weeks, an agreement on safeguarding threatened animals and plants was achieved.
During the two weeks of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10), representatives from the 193 nations of the UN gathered to address the unprecedented loss of biodiversity that is seriously compounded by global warming.
The 20 goals of the newly adopted Nagoya Protocol include increasing the area of protected land in the world from 12.5% to 17%, and the area of protected oceans from 1% to 10%, by 2020.
Parallel to the UN session, CropLife International has run three Town Hall-style events with farmers, agricultural experts, researchers and policymakers, as part of a global campaign to engage audiences worldwide in a discussion on how agriculture can protect and preserve our natural resources. The Biodiversity World Tour travelled across three continents, starting off in Iowa, USA, then heading to Brussels, Belgium, before finishing off in the same place as the UN biodiversity discussions, in Nagoya.
Here are some highlights from the tour:
Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture, reiterated the importance of science-based regulation and the need to maintain a diverse choice of technologies for farmers.
As we confront the dual challenge of feeding the world while maintaining biodiversity…we must utilize all of the appropriate tools in our toolbox.
Secretary Vilsack maintained that achieving the goals of food security and protecting biodiversity “requires formulation of careful national and international policies and requires the advancement of agricultural research and practices. Above all, these solutions must be built on strong science.”
In a video message, EU Environment Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, warned that decision-makers must act now, and stressed the dependence of food production on a foundation of biodiversity.
Food and agriculture do not exist in a vacuum. Both depend on biodiversity for the fertile soils and the varieties of plant and animal resources it provides.
The panel was optimistic that greatly increasing food needs can be met while protecting biodiversity. The panel drew particular attention to the environmental costs being borne in the developing world due to the deceleration of European productivity, and warned that it is imperative not just to farm for food but also to farm for biodiversity. Prof. Harald von Witzke, Humboldt University Berlin, stressed,
We need to produce more on the acreage already being farmed. “Even rich countries such as those in the European Union need to increase productivity.
At the final event in Nagoya, the panel discussed how the aspirations of the UN and the CBD could be successfully implemented.
The Town Halls have been broadcast live online, with those not present at the talks being able to ask the panel questions via Twitter, Facebook and email. For links to the recorded videos, visit the Biodiversity World Tour’s website.