It’s a race against time. Governments are trying to achieve in the next eight years what hasn’t been done in the last 20—find a common ground to stem the loss of biodiversity by 2020.
The process is through the ongoing Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) – Conference of Parties (CoP) in Hyderabad. The agreed targets, called Aichi Biodiversity Targets , aim to reduce the rate of loss of natural habitats by half.
Against the backdrop of charges that environmental clearances have become a stumbling block for India’s economic growth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is set to inaugurate the high-level ministerial meet on Tuesday. As India has taken over the presidency of CBD-CoP for the next two years from Japan, Singh’s address to the delegates representing 193 countries gathered at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre is keenly awaited.
Will he constitute the proposed National Investment Board, ignoring concerns raised by the environment minister? Will India show the necessary leadership to achieve what has been agreed in CBD (read: the Aichi targets) at Nagoya, Japan, two years ago?
By the convention’s own admission: “The 2010 biodiversity target has not been met at the global level. None of the 21 sub-targets accompanying the overall target of significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 can be said definitively to have been achieved globally, although some have been partially or locally achieved. Despite an increase in conservation efforts, the state of biodiversity continues to decline, according to most indicators, largely because the pressures on biodiversity continue to increase.”
The failure of the ongoing discussion could make it impossible to achieve the targets set for 2020, according to India’s environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan.
Still, there seems to be a clear disconnect between words and action.
India spends Rs 11,000 crore on biodiversity related issues but hasn’t being able to stamp its authority on the week-long negotiations. The final round begins Tuesday with the meeting of ministers.
Last week, countries disagreed on resource mobilization for CBD. The current figure is at $30 billion, contributed by governments to CBD for its programmes and the amount needs to be raised manifold in order to go forward and achieve the Aichi targets.