Japan: Biodiversity summit opens


Seventeen years after the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) entered the vocabulary of conservationists the world over more than 190 nations are gathered in Nagoya, Japan for the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10).

This meeting perhaps has more resonance than some of its predecessors. Not least because we are currently in the International Year of Biodiversity, but also because it falls less than a year later than the spectacular failure of the Copenhagen climate talks. It also carries importance because the delegates will hear officially that hardly any of the major targets laid down in 2002 for halting and reversing biodiversity loss have been met.

This isn't exactly news of course. The scale of the problem was hinted at when the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) was published earlier this year, but by the time the conference closes on 29 October the world will know what the signatories to the CBD plan on doing about it.

But among the bad news there are signs of hope. Plant conservationists are hoping a consolidated update of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation will be accepted and underline the "critical role of plants in supporting ecosystem resilience, provision of ecosystem services; adapting to and mitigating environmental challenges inter alia, climate change, and for supporting well being," as the 195 page draft declaration puts it.

It can be easy to forget biodiversity is not just about nature. It is fundamental to human food security as Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the CBD, explained last month: "Of the 7,000 species of plants that have been domesticated over the history of agriculture, a mere 30 account for 90 per cent of all the food that we eat every day."

Plant Talk will be monitoring the news coming out of Nagoya carefully, but please get in touch if you think we've missed anything.

Convention on Biological Diversity

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