India hopes for positive outcome at UN biodiversity meet

Hyderabad, Oct 15 (IANS) India Tuesday expressed confidence that nations at the ongoing UN conference on biodiversity here will come forward to commit resources to achieve targets by 2020 though there were differences over methodology.

India, which took over the presidency of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) for the next two years, said it expects the meet will set some "interim target" on financing to achieve biodiversity targets.

"There has been good forward movement, and what is needed is that it translates into concrete steps. In the first week of the conference, we adopted four agenda items. That is really a positive outcome and we hope to resolve the rest of the issues by Thursday (the conference ends Oct 19)," M.S. Farooqui, special secretary and chief negotiator, environment ministry, told reporters here.

The two-week-long Eleventh Conference of Parties (COP 11) is discussing progress made and challenges in the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, which was adopted at COP 10 in Nagoya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, in 2010.

The plan is a 10-year framework for action, and includes 20 biodiversity targets set at COP 10. It serves as the overall framework for biodiversity work in the UN system.

The Aichi Biodiversity Targets include raising awareness among people on the values of biodiversity and providing resources to developing countries to save it. The plan also mentions steps that could be taken to conserve and use it sustainably by 2020.

Farooqui said they are not expecting any concrete monetary figure as part of resource mobilisation to be arrived upon at the meet, though they do expect interim arrangements to set the roadmap, besides general agreement on milestones to be covered.

"When we talk about interim targets... lets not take it in terms of numbers but in terms of sending a political message to global parties to achieve targets," he said.

The issue of resource mobilisation will come up for discussion at the high level segment starting Tuesday. Several ministers and heads of states are expected to attend it.

David Ainsworth, information officer, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity of the United Nations, said there were differences among nations over resource mobilisation, and negotiations were being undertaken to arrive at a consensus.

COP 11 is being attended by over 15,000 delegates from 185 countries. It will continue until Oct 19.