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MEMO/10/529

Brussels, 27 October 2010

Statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik on the ongoing negotiations at the COP10 Conference on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan

Let me start by first stating that nobody should question the EU’s commitment to making these talks a success.  The EU has for a long time been the world’s leading financial donor in the battle against biodiversity loss. Since 2002 we have contributed almost 9 billion euro to this crucial cause. 

We have adopted this year clear targets of halting biodiversity loss and degradation of ecosystems by 2020, and restoring them where feasible, within our long term vision for 2050.  We already have in the EU the largest number of protected areas in the world – 26.000 of them, covering 18% of our land area. 

So, we in the European Union are very well aware of the importance of biodiversity to the future of our planet and of the need to take action in order to protect the well-being and heritage of future generations.  Our aim here in Nagoya is to help construct the highest possible global commitment to protecting biodiversity. 

We want to see a global commitment to actions which will be effective.  And we want to see agreed targets.  We know that this will require financing and we will not avoid our responsibilities in this area.  We want to see a holistic approach to this global problem; one which sets goals and targets and which integrates biodiversity into all relevant policy areas. Many forms of financing are possible. Nobody can seriously argue, for example, that Climate Change and Biodiversity are two separate issues. Or that Biodiversity is not included in various forms in the Millennium Development Goals.   

On access and benefit-sharing (ABS) of genetic resources, this has been the subject of difficult negotiations for years. In some ways this is not surprising because trade, economic and commercial issues are central to the discussions, making it difficult for Environment Ministers alone to solve the problem. But let me be clear: We believe an agreement here is still possible and we will be doing everything in our power to make it happen. 

We have not come to Nagoya to obstruct or to fail. We have come to negotiate and, we hope, to succeed. The world needs an agreement here in Nagoya. The problem is too great to ignore it or to postpone taking action to deal with it.  Nothing less than our collective future well-being is at stake here. The EU will play its part in full.

Background

The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) is currently taking place in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan (18-29 October 2010).

The high-level ministerial segment of the COP 10 started today, 27 October and will last until 29 October 2010. This is organised by the host country Japan in consultation with the Secretariat and the Bureau.

For further info, see MEMO/10/519


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