Legislation: Aichi Biodiversity targets on Direct and Indirect Drivers of Biodiversity Loss


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Most parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) consider the tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) held in Nagoya, Japan, from 18 to 29 October 2010 to be a success. COP 10 produced forty-seven decisions, known as the Nagoya Outcomes, includ¬ing a new Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and a Resource Mobilisation Strategy. After years of negotiations, the Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilisation (the Nagoya Protocol) was adopted on 29 October 2010. The previous week, the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties (COP-MOP 5) of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was also brought to a close with the adoption of the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress.

The stakes were high. During the International Year of Biodiversity, the third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO 3) concluded that the 2010 targets' had not been met.2 According to the GBO 3, the drivers of biodiversity loss (habitat change, overexploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change) had not been properly addressed and biodiversity issues were not sufficiently integrated in national policies, in part because of limited capacities and technical and financial resources in developing countries. The failure was taken note of at COP-10,3 with the parties facing the enormous task of adopting a new strategic plan and targets that could fill the gaps of the 2010 targets.

The CBD potentially has all the elements to change the way we relate to nature. It combines sustainable use and conservation with socio-economic concerns framed in the ecosystem and a precautionary approach. Yet, twenty years after its adoption, parties have not made the most of the CBD. Instead of making the CBD and the ecosystem approach the cornerstone and driving force of international environmental law and policy, it has been progressively weakened - the excuse being the fragmentation of the international environmental regime.

This paper aims to provide some examples of the links between the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the overall work of COP 10 and other international processes. It identifies a number of constraints due to the fragmentation of the international environmental law regime. It also argues that the Aichi Targets will fail unless parties step up to the challenge both inside and outside the CBD framework.

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