Biological diversity includes not only the great variety of living species on our planet but also the diverse and complex relations that exist between these species and that were established over the course of time. Natural resources that humans need are exploited on a large scale. For this reason, the international community is working toward a model of exploitation that would take into account the fragility of ecosystems as well as their diversity.
The UN plays a major role in protecting biodiversity through the adoption of the convention on biological diversity, one of three major conventions produced at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. More recently, the UN has adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing (Nagoya Protocol) and has created the International Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). In order to create awareness in the international community about biodiversity, the United Nations declared 2010 the international year of biodiversity, and 2011-2020 the decade of biodiversity.
Since the Earth Summit in 1992, there is no longer any doubt about biodiversity loss. However, ecosystem is a complex dynamic and the phenomenon cannot therefore be summarized based on a few readily available indicators.
In order to provide effective local responses to biodiversity loss, the international community considered creating a platform for international coordination between researchers appointed by participating countries to analyze requirements and propose appropriate responses for preserving biodiversity and ecosystems. This is how the International Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) came into being.
The IPBES was created based on a French initiative: at the 2005 Paris Conference on “Biodiversity: Science and Governance,” France proposed the creation of an international mechanism of scientific expertise on biodiversity aimed at providing the States with shared and reliable data. This project quickly received the support of the European Union. The French scientific community launched a major mobilization.
Following three intergovernmental meetings, with the most recent in Busan in Korea from June 7 to 11, 2010, 90 countries came to an agreement on the need to create an International Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) which will respond to the requirements of the governments and multilateral organizations, but will also take into account the demands of scientific organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. Mr Achim Stein, Director General of the United Nations Environment Program, who coordinated the conference, stated that “the IPBES represents a major breakthrough in terms of organizing a global response to the loss of living organisms and forests, freshwaters, coral reefs and other ecosystems.”
On 20 December 2010, the UN General Assembly approved the creation of the IPBES.
"We could think of no better conclusion to the year of biodiversity than the creation of the IPBES by the UN. This resolution constitutes the starting point to promote better consideration of the protection of biodiversity in all our public policies”, said Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing.
The IPBES will be modelled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It will coordinate between the requirements indicated by the local stakeholders, the NGOs and civil society that are directly affected by biodiversity loss, and scientific research. It will provide the leaders and the various actors with solutions to the problems encountered. It will also provide public information on biodiversity loss and its consequences.
From 18 to 29 October 2010, 193 states met in Nagoya for the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10). States Parties have adopted a set of texts aimed at renewing global cooperation with respect to nature conservation and the sustainable development of genetic resources.
Since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in 1997, these are the first major achievement of the international environmental negotiations. A few weeks ahead of the Cancun Conference and in preparation of the 2012 Rio plus 20 Summit, which will review progress made in environmental and sustainable development, this sends a very positive signal to all countries in the world.
Three key texts were thus adopted in Nagoya:
1. 18 years after the signing of the Convention on Biodiversity in 1992, its third goal is finally being put into practice: a legally binding protocol to implement rules governing access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits arising from their utilization was adopted. Eagerly awaited by France, the Nagoya Protocol is an ambitious and balanced text which should enable us to combat “bio-piracy.” France has indeed a specific status: it is both a provider of genetic resources, in particular through the richness in terms of biodiversity of its overseas territories, and a user of resources for particular industrial activities such as cosmetics or pharmaceutics, but also within the scope of research activities. Mrs Jouanno announced that France would offer 1 million euros to launch the implementation of the protocol.
2. At the same time, a new strategy for implementing the Convention, aimed at preventing the loss of global biodiversity, was adopted. It consists of 20 targets both ambitious and realistic. It notably includes components encouraging the States to incorporate the economic exploitation of biodiversity and the services provided by ecosystems into their policies.
3. Lastly, a road map for evaluating funding requirements and mobilizing financial resources in order to implement this strategy was adopted. On this occasion Chantal Jouanno announced, on behalf of the President of the Republic, the intention of France to increase to 10 % the rate of official development assistance devoted to biodiversity in developing countries, in accordance with the commitments of the French government, This assistance for biodiversity will be doubled by the end of 2012, and then increased gradually to 500 million euros a year by 2014. By 2020, France will have spent 4 billion euros for the preservation of global biodiversity.
The Conference also adopted a decision inviting the UN General Assembly to establish, as swiftly as possible, an intergovernmental group of experts on biodiversity changes – another priority for France.
On the sidelines of this conference, the French representation, which included deputies and representatives of civil society, participated in several parallel events, notably focusing on cities, oceans, and the economics of ecosystems.
The next Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will be held in India in October 2012.
The General Assembly proclaimed the decade 2011-2020 the International Decade of biodiversity.
2010 has been declared International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations (resolution 61/203 adopted by the General Assembly on 19 January 2007) in order to enhance international awareness, promote solutions and encourage the various stakeholders concerned to take action.
On 22 September 2010, as a contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity, a high-level event on biodiversity was held at the UN headquarters in New York, attended by Chantal Jouanno, Minister of State for Ecology.
International awareness of the need to protect biological diversity and the balance of ecosystems became evident at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Chapter 15 of Agenda 21 on sustainable development adopted at the Summit is devoted to biodiversity. The “Convention on biological diversity” (CBD) was one of the conventions signed as a result of the Summit. This universal convention (ratified by 190 Member States) provides the normative framework for the protection and management of biodiversity.
The Convention defines biological diversity (article 2) as the “variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.”
The three main objectives of the Convention (article 1) are “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding.”
22 September 2010 - High-level meeting on biodiversity - Statement by Mrs. Chantal Jouanno, Minister of State for Ecology
20 December 2010 - Resolution A/RES/65/161 - Convention on Biological Diversity
28 octobre 2010 - Conference of the Parties COP 10 in Nagoya - Speech by Mrs. Chantal Jouanno, Minister of State responsible for Ecology
11 June 2010 Busan outcome
2 March 2010 - Resolution A/RES/64/203 - "Convention on Biological Diversity"
June 1992 Convention on biological diversity
June 1992 Action 21
UN Website 2010 International Year of Biodiversity
Website of the IPBES
Website of the UNEP