IUCN President addresses Ministers at the Biodiversity summit in Hyderabad

18 October 2012 | Article

Today IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng addressed the Ministers gathered at the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India, highlighting IUCN's hopes for a successful outcome of the talks. Here is what he said:

"IUCN thanks the Government of India for the warm welcome and for all the hard work to prepare for this meeting. We also congratulate those Parties that have already put into action the commitments they made at COP 10 to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and its 20 Aichi Targets. These targets can only be reached if Parties set strong country level targets that ‘add up’ to the global ones.

The adoption of national biodiversity strategies and action plans is essential to mainstream biodiversity at all levels of society, and to make sure that it is perceived as a source of ‘nature-based solutions’ to broader societal challenges.

It is clear that much more resources are necessary to implement the Aichi targets. We need new approaches to mobilize these resources, such as green procurement and green tax schemes, as well as engaging the private sector in biodiversity conservation activities.

Nature is priceless. However, to conserve and better manage nature, it can be helpful to identify elements with economic value and to reward those who take care of it.

The link between environment and development must be fully appreciated and the Aichi targets must be incorporated in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Allow me to use the dramatic decline in South Asia’s vulture populations as a stark example of the connections between species, ecosystems services and human health. Three species of South Asian vultures, once numbering millions, are now classified by IUCN as Critically Endangered. Their loss has led to an enormous waste disposal problem, groundwater contamination, a large increase in feral dogs and an increase in diseases.

IUCN’s knowledge, including The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, provides information that supports the implementation of most of the Aichi targets, and is the basis of several indicators used to measure progress towards achieving them. The targets underpin the entire new IUCN Programme for 2013-2016 adopted at the recent World Conservation Congress.

IUCN congratulates those Parties who have established new protected areas. In November 2014 the IUCN World Parks Congress will be held in Sydney, Australia, providing an excellent opportunity for the Parties to share their experience in implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity.

Aichi Target 12 concerns the species extinction crisis and calls for an improvement in the conservation status of known threatened species. IUCN is initiating a ‘Friends of Target 12’ partnership to support the achievement of this target.

In the marine realm, we need to accelerate efforts to establish marine protected areas within and beyond national jurisdiction. IUCN calls on the international community to establish an effective legal framework to safeguard marine biodiversity, and use marine genetic resources beyond national jurisdiction in a sustainable and equitable way.

In just two years’ time, at COP12, we will be looking at the mid-term progress towards turning the Strategic Plan into reality on the ground. It is crucial that here in Hyderabad, we take the decisions that put us on the right track to achieve this.

Over the last few days we have heard some wonderful words of wisdom from Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of this great nation, India. I would like to add a proverb from my own country, China: ‘Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it’.

IUCN is fully ready to play its part in making this plan a reality."