Speech of Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan at CoP 11


Following is the text of the Minister for Environment and Forest, Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan at the opening plenary of the High Level Segment of the Eleventh Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad today:

“It is a great privilege to welcome you all to the High Level Segment of the Eleventh Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. I congratulate you for the successful conclusion of the Sixth Meeting of Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.I am glad that the International Community is acknowledging the gravity of the issues pertaining to loss of Biological Diversity, and is willing to bring these concerns to the world center stage.

India has always taken a lead in global endeavors on various environmental issues. We played a very constructive role in achieving a successful outcome at the Durban Conference which delivered a breakthrough on the international community`s response to climate change and at the recently concluded Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development.

The past week has witnessed intense negotiations amongst Parties to arrive at concrete conclusions on critical issues in Biological Diversity conservation. I am hopeful that the deliberations in the High Level Segment during the next three days will facilitate consensus on important issues.

The four themes slated for discussion in the High Level Segment, namely Biodiversity for Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction; Implementation of the Strategic Plan of Biodiversity 2011-2020; Coastal and Marine Biodiversity and Implementation of Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing have been selected after much deliberation. These themes aremost appropriate to address the key issues relating to biodiversity loss and strategies to find suitable solutions.

Friends, resource mobilization is the most important unfinished agenda that we have inherited from CoP-10 as we could not succeed in adopting targets for resource mobilization as a means to achieve the Aichi Targets. I urge the Parties to CBD to agree to some measures, commitments and targets on resource mobilization, even if on an interim basis so as to infuse confidence in Parties as also to generate momentum for implementation of the Aichi Targets.This is crucial because if we are not able to agree to any measures on resource mobilization at CoP-11, then four out of ten year period of Strategic Plan for the decade 2011-2020, would have gone, making it all the more difficult to achieve the targets by 2020. This would be our collective failure. We have failed once to achieve CBD’s 2010 biodiversity targets. Our future generations will not forgive us if we fail again in 2020. I am sure that you all will show the statesmanship and leadership which will help the negotiations on resource mobilization to reach a successful conclusion.

More than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and we are witnessing a fast pace of urbanization all across the world.Urbanization brings improvement in the quality of life of people. At the same time, it is associated with more intensive consumption patterns which invariably cause major impacts on biodiversity.It is estimated that half of India’s population will also be living in cities by 2045. I am happy that a parallel Summit on ‘Cities for Life’ has been held on the margins of CoP-11, bringing together sub-national and local authorities. I am confident that this will go a long way in bringing biodiversity back into the Urban Agenda.

Role of Communication, Education, Pubic Awareness is most critical to achieve the strategic goals and Aichi Biodiversity targets. The outcome document from the Conference on “Biodiversity conservation and Education for Sustainable Development”, held on the side line of the COP, has made very useful suggestions, that could greatly influence Communication, Education and Public Awareness plans.

I would specially mention of innovative communication through “Science Express: Biodiversity Special”- a mobile biodiversity exhibition train, which we have showcased as CoP brand ambassador, and is scheduled to run 18,000 Km init’s first leg. It is creating unprecedented public awareness on biodiversity across the country, particularly, amongst children and youth, and has already been visited by over 1.5 million people

In the end I would like to quote Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our nation once again. He said, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Friends, we cannot loose time in arriving at consensus for conservation of Biological Diversity. We must strive to reach consensus now, when we all are sitting here on the negotiation tables.

I express my sincere thanks to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and his Government for their tireless efforts and support in organizing this mega event. I hopethat your stay here in Hyderabad has been comfortable and you have also had a chance to see this beautiful city. The road ahead is tough, but we all need to stand united to address the challenges that threaten our very existence. “