Governments make good progress on marine, slow on finance at Hyderabad biodiversity meet

Posted on 20 October 2012

Hyderabad, India – ‘Painfully slow’ seems to have been the mantra adopted by governments in their sluggish quest to agree on key targets to protect our planet’s natural resources at the UN Convention on Biological diversity in Hyderabad this week, with a hard-earned agreement on a doubling of international financing by 2015 arriving early on Saturday.

But even before plenary got underway, delegates had already reached agreements on a number of big issues, with marine one of the most notable successes.

“WWF came to Hyderabad asking governments to set the world on a course that would help prevent further declines in some of the world’s most valuable resources, and we have seen some success here,” said Lasse Gustavsson, WWF International’s Executive Director of Conservation.

“But the deal reached on financing at CoP11 Hyderabad is a disappointing result, because it is not nearly enough money to reach the ambitious targets to protect biodiversity the world set two years ago in Nagoya,” he said.

The agreement to double biodiversity investments from developed countries to developing nations means an additional US$5 billion to 2015, representing a total of US$10 billion per year. From here, investments will be frozen to 2020, the year the Aichi Targets are set to conclude.

WWF estimates that approximately US$200 billion needs to be invested in biodiversity by 2020 if governments are serious about meeting the Aichi Targets. What’s been agreed in Hyderabad represents less than half this number.

Tide comes in on marine

Governments did manage to agree on a way forward to protect the world’s oceans, and have set in motion a process could see better conservation applied to marine environments beyond national jurisdictions, commonly known as the high seas – a massive area that represents close to 40 per cent of our planet’s surface.

The success came as delegates agreed to send reports on ecologically and biologically signigicant areas (EBSAs) of the high seas to the UN General Assembly. If UN agencies take action to ensure shipping and other activities do not harm these important areas, this could lead to better management of ocean environments beyond national boarders, according to WWF.

Another significant point of progress came with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s US$50 million "Hyderabad Pledge", a commitment that will channel much needed biodiversity investments into India and other developing nations that are finding it difficult to cover urgently needed investments in natural capital.

“The fact that India made a financial commitment at national and international level sets a precedent for other emerging economies to offer more support to global biodiversity conservation,” said Lasse Gustavsson.
Governments are gathered in Hyderabad, India, from 8th to 19th October to discuss implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, a legally binding treaty governing the sustainable use of our planet’s natural wealth.
© Chris Chaplin / WWF