Convention on Biological Diversity - have duties been implemented?
MY CONCERNS ABOUT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS CONVENTION - WHICH ARE MANY - ARE GIVEN IN RED CAPITALS BELOW!
Of all the material available by searching on the internet, I found TRAVAUX: The Berkeley Journal of International Law Blog, (The Premier Forum for International Law at Berkeley Law, University of California) see: http://berkeleytravaux.com/convention-biological-diversitys-nagoya-protocol-halfway-ratification/ one of the most REVEALING as to what the MAJOR players are concerned about, CONFIRMING my assertion that the MAJOR objectives of the Convention and subsequently the Nagoya Protocol, have little (if anything) to do with specialist horticulture and the associated collection of seed of plants ONLY of interest to specialist gardeners and specialist horticultural societies (which are not-for-profit) - or the activities in the Himalaya of Chris Chadwell, who, since the 1980s HAS BEEN SURVEYING, IDENTIFYING, MONITORING AND RAISING CONCERNS ABOUT THE CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY. HIS USE OF ITS COMPONENTS, BY SEED-COLLECTION, HAS BEEN SUSTAINABLE. MUCH OF NUMBER 3 DOES NOT APPLY TO CHRIS CHADWELL BUT HE HAS CERTAINLY BEEN "FAIR & EQUITABLE" IN SHARING THE KNOWLEDGE HE HAS GAINED - HE HAS MADE NO FINANCIAL PROFITS, INDEED IS "OUT-OF-POCKET". PERHAPS, THE GOVERNMENTS OF HIMALAYAN COUNTRIES SHOULD REIMBURSE HIS EXPENSES? He has had nothing to do with BIOPROSPECTING!
The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol are IN FACT the MAIN INSTRUMENTS to protect and regulate BIOPROSPECTING and COMMERCIALIZATION of NEW PRODUCTS based on biological resources, which often relies on indigenous knowledge and use if plants and animals
The objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity are the:
1. Conservation of biological diversity
2. Sustainable use of its components
3. Fair & Equitable sharing of the benefits from genetic resources, including by access to genetic resources and transfer of relevant technologies
BUT THE REALITY IS THAT NUMBER 3 IS THE PRIME ISSUE TO GOVERNMENTS AND DRUG COMPANIES ALL OVER THE WORLD!
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, WITH GENETIC RESOURCES, WHICH THE MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES WISH TO EXPLOIT, ARE CORRECTLY TRYING TO "FIGHT THEIR CORNER", WHICH IS FAIR ENOUGH BUT LET NOBODY IMAGINE THEIR MAIN CONCERNS ARE NUMBER 1 OR NUMBER 2!
Why have so few members of the G20, including United States, China (and if I am correct, Japan) not signed?
In 2013, the United States Justice Department filed an amicus curiae brief arguing against the patentability of isolated and unmodified DNA. Why? Interestingly, the Justice Department acknowledged a shift in its own position and a divergence from US Patent and Trademark Office Guidelines, which it previously defended, noting the US has since re-evaluated, "whether such patents are consistent with the settled principle that patent protection does not extend to products of nature".
Perhaps the Justice Department's position on the patentability of isolated genes indicates a willingness to accept the Convention's broader goals, not only concerning genetics, but biological resources overall? Though at that time, with the Senate working with the aftershocks of a shutdown, it is unlikely that they will pick up the Convention or the Nagoya Protocol as a priority items, especially as it has remained dormant since 1994.
THE STAKES ARE HIGH. IN A 2009 REPORT BY BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY, THE GLOBAL MARKET FOR BOTANICAL AND PLANT-DRIVED DRUIGS PREDICTED AN INCREASE FROM $19.5 BILLION IN 2008 TO $33 BILLION IN 2013, A GROWTH RATE MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVE THAN THAT OF THE PROTOCOL'S SIGNATORIES.
Section 8 (j) of the Convention provides for "equitable sharing" of traditional knowledge, a REMARKABLY SHORT and PLAIN statement for such a large and complex task - i.e. TOO SIMPLISTIC!
Likewise, for individual countries to WRAP UP their FEARS OF EXPLOITATION COMMERCIALLY BY MULTI-NATIONAL DRUG COMPANIES (SUPPORTED BY MANY OF THE LARGEST ECONOMIES IN THE WORLD) in SUPPOSED concerns about PROTECTING their environments is FALSE! Especially as most of these countries are FAILING in their DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES to MONITOR and PROTECT their plant and animal life!
I consider it helpful to reproduce extracts from the PREAMBLE to the Convention (Rio,1992) MY CONCERNS ARE GIVEN IN RED CAPITALS
CONCERNED that biological diversity is being significantly reduced by certain human activities. AGREED
AWARE of the general lack of information and knowledge regarding biological diversity and the urgent need to develop scientific, technical and institutional capacities to provide the basic understanding upon which to plan and implement appropriate measures. THE ONLY WAY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, NO MATTER HOW LARGE THEY MAY BE, IS TO ACTIVELY ENCOURAGE INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION - THEY, WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT, NEED THE EXPERTISE WHICH THIS BRINGS. EVER-INCREASING RULES AND REGULATIONS, WHICH MAKE IT HARDER FOR FOREIGNERS TO HELP, ARE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE.
NOTING that it is vital to anticipate, prevent and attack the causes of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity at source. AGREED BUT THIS IS NOT HAPPENING IN TOO MANY COUNTRIES.
NOTING ALSO that where there is a threat of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to minimize such a threat. AGREED BUT INCORRECT AND INACCURATE RECORDS/DATA ARE A MAJOR PROBLEM AS WELL. FINITE RESOURCES MUST NOT BE DEVOTED TO SPECIES WHICH ARE NEITHER RARE, NOR ENDANGERED, WHILST THE SPECIES WHICH ARE RARE, HAVE BEEN ABANDONED TO THEIR FATE!
NOTING FURTHER that the fundamental requirement for the conservation of biological diversity is the in-situ conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings. AGREED BUT ONE NEEDS TO THOROUGHLY UNDERSTAND THE ECOSYSTEMS AND NATURAL HABITATS IN THE FIRST PLACE - WHICH RETURNS TO BEING ABLE TO IDENTIFY THE SPECIES PRESENT, ALONG WITH THEIR ABUNDANCE (OR RARITY); LIKEWISE, UNLESS ONE CAN RELIABLY IDENTIFY PLANT AND ANIMAL SPECIES, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO AID THE RECOVERY OF VIABLE POPULATIONS IN THEIR NATURAL SURROUNDINGS.
NOTING FURTHER that ex-situ measures, preferably in the country of origin, also have an important role to play. AGREED BUT SUCH MEASURES SHOULD NOT ACTUALLY DAMAGE THE POPULATIONS THEY ARE SUPPOSEDLY TRYING TO CONSERVE. FOR PLANTS, PROPAGATION FROM SEED IF OFTEN BY FAR THE BEST WAY TO ESTABLISH E.G. RARE AND ENDANGERED SPECIES IN BOTANIC GARDENS IN THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN - NOT "DIGGING THEM UP"! I KNOW OF EXAMPLES OF THIS HAPPENING IN THE HIMALAYA. THE "DUG UP" PLANTS HAD NO CHANCE OF SURVIVING TRANSPLANATION TO A BOTANIC GARDEN LOCATED IN CLIMATIC CONDITIONS VERY DIFFERENT TO WHERE THE PLANTS HAD COME FROM.... TRAINING BY SPECIALISTS SUCH AS CHRIS CHADWELL, IS URGENTLY NEEDED....
RECOGNIZING the close and traditional dependence of many indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles on biological resources, and the desirability of sharing benefits arising from the use of traditional knowledge, innovations and practises relevant to the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. AGREED. CHRIS CHADWELL HAS TAKEN AN INTEREST IN HIMALAYAN PLANT SPECIES UTILISED IN TIBETAN MEDICINE FOR 30 YEARS, AFTER HE WAS SENT A SET OF PRESSED (HERBARIUM) SPECIMENS COLLECTED DURING A HERBAL TREK IN LADAKH, WHICH HAD BEEN PROVIDED WITH THE TIBETAN NAMES BY A DOCTOR OF TRADITIONAL MEDICINE (AMCHI); CHRIS IDENTIFIED THEM (PROVIDED THE LATIN PLANT NAMES). IN THE 1990s HE WAS A CONSULTANT TO THE ROYAL GOVERNMENT OF BHUTAN ON THE 'CULTIVATION OF MEDICINAL PLANTS FOR TRADITIONAL MEDICINE PROJECT'.
RECOGNIZING also the vital role that women play in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and affirming the need for the full participation of women at all levels of policy-making and implementation for biological diversity conservations. AGREED. HIS PROPOSED PROJECT TO ENCOURAGE THE WIDESPREAD PLANTING OF 'THE GIANT HIMALAYAN STINGING NETTLE' (GIRARDINIA DIVERSIFOLIA) AROUND VILLAGES IN NEPAL TO HELP PREVENT SOIL EROSION AND FORM SOME SORT OF PROJECTION AGAINST LANDSLIDES FOLLOWING EARTHQUAKES, IS A RELEVANT EXAMPLE see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/giant-himalayan-stinging-nettles---saviours-of-landslip-prone-nepalese-villages. VILLAGE WOMEN WHO WEAVE THE THREAD FROM THESE NETTLES ARE EMPOWERED BY THE MONEY THEY CAN GENERATE FROM THE SALE OF NETTLE-PRODUCTS. MONEY IN WOMENS' POCKETS TENDS TO BE BETTER SPENT THAN IN MENS - WHICH CAN BE WASTED ON ALCOHOL ETC. (WHICH IS A PROBLEM IN NEPAL).
ACKNOWLEDGING that substantial investments are required to conserve biological diversity and that there is the expectation of a broad range of environmental, economic and social from these investments. AGREED - BUT NOT ENOUGH IS BEING INVESTED BOTH IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND THE WEST.
ARTICLE 1 - OBJECTIVES OF THE CONVENTION
The objectives of this Convention, to be pursued in accordance with its relevant provisions 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..... AGREED
ARTICLE 3 - PRINCIPLE
States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental policies and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other State or of areas beyond the limit of national jurisdiction. AGREED BUT ANY RULES, REGULATIONS AND LAWS SHOULD NOT BE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE, ACTUALLY HARMING THE CAUSE OF CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY!
ARTICLE 5 - COOPERATION
Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate, cooperate with other Contracting Parties, directly or, where appropriate, through competent international organisations, in respect of .... matters of mutual interest, for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. AGREED - THOUGH CERTAIN COUNTRIES, THROUGH SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS, DISCOURAGED COOPERATION!
ARTICLE 7 - IDENTIFICATION AND MONITORING
Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate....
(a) Identify components of biological diversity important for its conservation and sustainable use having regard to the indicative list of categories set down in Annex I; HOW CAN THIS BE DONE IF A COUNTRY HAS HARDLY ANY FIELD BOTANISTS AND FIELD ZOOLOGISTS WHO CAN RELIABLY IDENTIFY PLANTS OR ANIMALS? AND THESE COUNTRY'S DISCOURAGE INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION.
(b) Monitor, through sampling and other techniques, the components of biological diversity identified pursuant to subparagraph (a) above, paying particular attention to those requiring urgent conservation measures and those which offer the greatest potential for sustainable use;
HOW CAN COUNTRIES UNDERTAKE SAMPLING/SURVEYS OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY WITHOUT FIELD BOTANISTS AND FIELD ZOOLOGISTS CAPABLE OF RELIABLY IDENTIFYING PLANTS AND ANIMALS. THUS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL WHICH PLANTS AND ANIMALS ARE RARE AND ENDANGERED.
(c) Identify processes and categories of activities which have or are likely to have significant adverse impacts on the conservation measures and sustainable use of biological diversity, monitor their effects through sampling and other techniques; and AS WITH (a) and (b) THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT FIELD BOTANISTS AND FIELD ZOOLOGISTS WHO CAN RELIABLY IDENTIFY WHICH SPECIES ARE RARE AND ENDANGERED!
(d) Maintain and organize, by any mechanism data, derived from identification and monitoring activities pursuant to subparagraphs (a), (b) and (c) above. ONCE AGAIN, THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT FIELD BOTANISTS AND FIELD ZOOLOGISTS ABLE TO RELIABLY IDENTIFY PLANTS AND ANIMALS CORRECTLY. WHAT HAS HAPPENED, IS THAT THE INFORMATION WHICH IS ACCUMULATED, IS INCORRECT, LEADING E.G. TO FALSE SUBMISSIONS TO C.I.T.E.S.... FOR FIELD BOTANISTS TO OPERATE, A SERIES OF HERBARIA WITH HIGH-QUALITY REFERENCE HERBARIUM SPECIMENS ARE ESSENTIAL - ALONG WITH REGULAR CONSULTATION OF WORLD-SPECIALIST PLANT TAXONOMISTS - OTHERWISE, FALSE CLAIMS OF THE DISCOVERY OF SPECIES 'NEW TO SCIENCE' WILL BE MADE AND IF COLLABORATION BETWEEN BOTANISTS WITHIN LARGE COUNTRIES HAPPENS, FALSE CLAIMS OF SPECIES BEING 'ENDEMIC' (I.E. ONLY FOUND IN THAT REGION) WILL HAPPEN. MUCH THE SAME WILL APPLY TO FIELD ZOOLOGISTS, WHO REQUIRE MUSEUMS WITH HIGH QUALITY REFERENCE SPECIMENS; IN THE PAST THIS REQUIRED THE SHOOTING/TRAPPING OF ANIMALS, THEN PRESERVATION IN MUSEUMS. The work of the ornithologists of the University of Southampton Ladakh expeditions of 1976, 1977 and 1980 set a fine example, as they trapped, ringed, photographed and released large numbers of birds - indeed 2 of the team members returned to Ladakh in 1981 to survey birds for a 12-month period. The 1980 expedition was Chris Chadwell's first expedition, though not a zoologist, he led the botanical survey work.
1. Ecosystems and habitats: containing high diversity, large numbers of endemic or threatened species, or wilderness; required by migratory species; of social, economic or scientific importance or which are representative, unique or associated with key evolutionary or other biological processes. TO REPEAT, HOW CAN ENDEMIC OR THREATENED SPECIES BEING RECOGNISED UNLESS THERE ARE FIELD-BOTANISTS AND FIELD-ZOOLOGISTS CAPABLE OF RELIABLY IDENTIFYING PLANTS!
2. Species and communities which are: threatened; wild relatives of domesticated or cultivated species; of medicinal, agricultural or other economic value: or social, scientific or cultural importance: or importance for research into the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, such an indicator species TO REPEAT, HOW CAN SPECIES OR COMMUNITIES BE RECOGNISED UNLESS THERE ARE FIELD-BOTANISTS AND FIELD-ZOOLOGISTS CAPABLE OF RELIABLY IDENTIFYING PLANTS!
ARTICLE 8 - IN-SITU CONSERVATION
Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate:
(a) Establish a system of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity; SOUNDS GOOD BUT HOW CAN YOU DECIDE WHICH AREAS ARE MOST IN NEED OF PROTECTION UNLESS THE WHOLE REGION HAS BEEN SURVEYED FOR PLANTS AND ANIMALS. GIVEN THE VAST AREA OF THE HIMALAYA IN EACH COUNTRY (INDIA, NEPAL, BHUTAN), DIFFICULT TERRAIN, ALTITUDE ETC., THIS IS A CHALLENGE. SINCE IN SOME OF THESE COUNTRIES THE EXISTING BOTANISTS ARE NOT KEEN TO SPEND MUCH TIME HIGH IN THE MOUNTAINS, THIS PRESENTS A PROBLEM. WHEREAS ECCENTRIC BRITS LIKE CHRIS CHADWELL ACTUALLY ENJOY BEING IN THE HIMALAYA!
(b) Develop, where necessary, guidelines for the selection, establishment and management of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity; SEE MY CONCERNS FOR (a)
(c) Regulate or manage biological resources important for the conservation of biological diversity whether within or outside protected areas, with a view to ensuring their conservation and sustainable use; SEE MY CONCERNS FOR (a) - YOU NEED A RANGE OF BOTANICAL SCIENTISTS INCLUDING PLANT ECOLOGISTS, KEEN TO SPEND TIME IN THE HIMALAYA....
(d) Promote the protection of ecosystems, natural habitats and the maintenance of viable populations of species in natural surroundings; AGREED BUT YOU NEED A RANGE OF SCIENTISTS AND OTHERS TO UNDERTAKE THIS
(e) Promote environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas; AGREED BUT THIS IS A MAJOR UNDERTAKING - AS IN ALMOST ALL COUNTRIES, THE AVERAGE PERSON COULD NOT CARE LESS ABOUT PROTECTION OF WILDLIFE
(f) Rehabilitate and restore degraded ecosystems and promote the recovery of threatened species, inter alia, through the development and implementation of plans or other management strategies; AGREED BUT THIS REQUIRES A GREAT DEAL OF EXPERTISE AND RESOURCES
(g) Establish or maintain means to regulate, manage or control the risks associated with the use and release of living modified organisms resulting from biotechnology which are likely to have adverse environmental impacts that could affect the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account the risks to human health; AGREED BUT THIS REQUIRES A GREAT DEAL OF EXPERTISE AND RESOURCES
(h) Prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species; AGREED BUT THIS REQUIRES A GREAT DEAL OF EXPERTISE AND RESOURCES - JUST HOW CAN 'ALIEN' SPECIES BE PREVENTED FROM INTRODUCTION!
(i) Endeavour to provide the conditions needed for compatibility between present uses and the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components; WONDERFUL IN THEORY
(j) Subject to its national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices; WONDFERFUL IN THEORY BUT THIS STARTS WITH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND SCIENTISTS RESPECTING INDIGENOUS AND LOCAL PEOPLES.
(k) Develop or maintain necessary legislation and/or other regulatory provisions for the protection of threatened species and populations; WHILST LEGISLAATION MAY APPEAR TO HELP PROTECT THREATENED SPECIES, IF IT IS HEAVY-HANDED AND POORLY THOUGHT OUT, IT CAN EASILY BE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. THIS IS ALREADY HAPPENING IN HIMALAYAN COUNTRIES!
(l) Where a significant adverse effect on biological diversity has been determined pursuant to Article 7, regulate or manage the relevant processes and categories of activities; DON'T REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS!
(m) Cooperate in providing financial and other support for in-situ conservation outlined in subparagraphs (a) to (l) above, particularly to developing countries.
MUCH MORE MONEY IS NEEDED
ARTICLE 9 - EX-SITU CONSERVATION
Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate, and predominantly for the purpose of complementing in-situ measures:
(a) Adopt measures for the ex-situ conservation of components of biological diversity, preferably in the country of origin of such components;
(b) Establish and maintain facilities for ex-situ conservation of and research on plants, animals and micro- organisms, preferably in the country of origin of genetic resources;
(c) Adopt measures for the recovery and rehabilitation of threatened species and for their reintroduction into their natural habitats under appropriate conditions;
(d) Regulate and manage collection of biological resources from natural habitats for ex-situ conservation purposes so as not to threaten ecosystems and in-situ populations of species, except where special temporary ex-situ measures are required under subparagraph (c) above; and (e) Cooperate in providing financial and other support for ex-situ conservation outlined in subparagraphs (a) to (d) above and in the establishment and maintenance of ex- situ conservation facilities in developing countries.
ARTICLE 10 - SUSTAINABLE USE OF COMPONENTS OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
ARTICLE 11 - INCENTIVE MEASURES
ARTICLE 12 - RESEARCH AND TRAINING
ARTICLE 13 - PUBLIC EDUCATION AND AWARENESS
ARTICLE 14 - IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND MINIMIZING ADVERSE IMPACTS
ARTICLE 17 - EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION
ARTICLE 18 - TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC COOPERATION
ARTICLE 20 - FINANCIAL RESOURCES
ARTICLE 21 - FINANCIAL MECHANISM