Developing Nations to Get More Funds for Biodiversity Goals
Capping intense and protracted negotiations, the Convention on Biological Diversity today agreed to double biodiversity related funding to developing countries for implementing its goals on conservation.

Developed countries agreed to double funding to support efforts in developing states towards meeting internationally- agreed biodiversity targets, and the main goals of Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, a statement issued by the CBD said.

Using a baseline figure of the average annual national spending on biodiversity between 2006 and 2010, developed countries said they would double biodiversity-related international financial flows by 2015.

The Conference of Parties (COP) also set targets to increase the number of countries that have included biodiversity in their national development plans, and prepared national financial plans for biodiversity, by 2015, it said.

All parties agreed to substantially increase domestic expenditures for biodiversity protection over the same period. These targets and progress towards them will be reviewed in 2014, it said.

The breakthrough came after several hours of negotiations to reach an agreement on the issue of resource mobilisation (biodiversity funding), which had been the bone of contention during the conference.

The Plenary of the conference began yesterday evening to adopt the decisions but it had to take a break soon to enable the negotiators to thrash out an agreement on the delicate issue of funding.

The funding issue cast its shadow on other matters as well when they were taken up for adoption at the Plenary.

With the EU and some others raising objections to certain parts of documents, matters concerning resource mobilisation, ecosystems restoration, capacity building and the budget of the convention were kept pending by Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who chaired the Plenary in her capacity as the president of the CBD, for consideration later before announcing the break.

All other matters, 30 of them, had a more or less smooth adoption as consensus was arrived at during deliberations held in the working groups.

India, which assumed presidency of the convention, took the lead in helping the countries to arrive at an agreement on the issue of funding.

The negotiations continued till the small hours of today and the Plenary, when it resumed, passed the decisions on all the pending issues, including funding.

"It is a tremendous matter of pride that we hosted, probably the largest conference that India has had. Over 14,000 delegates, 172 countries participated," Natarajan told reporters after the conclusion of the Plenary.

"I think the most important achievement of the conference is that we made it our goal to achieve the unfinished work that was done in Japan which was resource mobilisation, which was very difficult target that we set for ourselves. However, after intense negotiations and tremendous efforts by the entire team and great coordination from all the parties, we did manage to achieve the goal," she said.

Asked how she proposed to carry out the work during India's presidency for the next two years, she said the decisions taken at the convention would be taken forward and focus on resource mobilisation and achieving the biodiversity targets.

Other key decisions taken at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 11) include new measures to factor biodiversity into environmental impact assessments linked to infrastructure and other development projects in marine and coastal areas, the CBD release said.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity said, "These results, coming in a period of economic crisis, demonstrate that the world is committed to implementing CBD. We see governments are moving forward in implementation and seeing biodiversity as an opportunity to be realised more than a problem to be solved."

"We now need to move forward in the next two years, under the able leadership of India, the COP 11 president, to consolidate this work and to advance further. I look forward to other pledges in support of the Hyderabad call for Biodiversity Champions that will allow us to realise our goals," he said.

For the first time, developing countries at COP 11, including India and several African states, pledged additional funds above and beyond their core funding towards the work of the CBD.

The conference also saw the launch of the Hyderabad Call for Biodiversity Champions. The programme will accept pledges from governments and organisations in support of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced USD 50 million as part of the programme, when he addressed the conference on October 16.

The Global Environment Facility, the financial mechanism of the Convention, for the first time, was provided with an assessment of the financial resources required to meet the needs of developing countries for implementing the Convention, the CBD release said.

The government of Korea would host the next (12th) Conference of Parties (COP 12) in 2014.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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