You may not know this, but since the 1970’s, more than 40 percent of the earth’s species (plants and animals alike) disappeared from the face of our planet. So when the UN declared 2010 the international “Year of Biodiversity” it was with a clear message: to help save what’s left of our world’s ecosystems. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated: “Biological diversity underpins ecosystem functioning… its continued loss, therefore, has major implications for current and future human well-being.” Unfortunately there are still too many people that believe that biodiversity is “a kind of washing powder”, as this article from the BBC News website suggests.


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Until the 29th of October, Nagoya is home to the “Celebrations of the International Year of Biodiversity”, where nature- and environmental ministers from 193 participating countries are gathering together to reach agreements about protection and promotion of biodiversity worldwide.

The UN conference of Nagoya is the 10th conference on biodiversity since the world top of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, where an agreement was reached about “biological diversity” with 3 central goals: preservation and conservation of biodiversity and fair sharing of the profits from rare “genetic assets”. Unfortunately, since then not much has happened, considering we lost 40 percent of the world’s biodiversity. So the UN is at it again, trying to put the 1992 goals into practice.

First, an action plan needs to be set up to put an end to loss of biodiversity by 2020 (if you ask me, a lot needs to happen by 2020). Second, this time around they want a final agreement on the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS-protocol) that should provide fair sharing of the “genetic assets” of the planet, currently mostly benefited from by wealthy countries. Third, there must be a financing model to compensate poorer countries for their efforts in biodiversity conservation.

Unfortunately, two major and most likely irresolvable issues are travelling with the ministers to Nagoya: the EU has no clear financial model and maybe not even enough money to compensate the poorer countries for their efforts to safe plants and animals (remember the same discussion about climate change adaptation from COP-15 at the beginning of this year); and we already know more or less for sure that if an agreement is reached it will be without the U.S. and China (think about the same COP-15 again and you’ll get it).

So the question is, apart from being very expensive and having a really big carbon footprint (getting representatives of 193 countries in Nagoya alone must be something of an emission burst), is the biodiversity summit bound to fail?

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