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Biodiversity is dwindling

A conference that met this week in Nagoya, Japan tried to organize activities to stop the mass extinction. As usual, the issue is stalled due to arguments between the developed countries where the money is and the developing countries where the genetic wealth is

species facing extinction. Illustration: Assaf Rosenthal
species facing extinction. Illustration: Assaf Rosenthal

After the climate conference in Copenhagen failed miserably, the representatives left without disciplinary decisions and "the world as usual", there are those who are trying to at least partially correct the situation of the ball, at the CBD conference in Nagoya, Japan.

This time, another attempt to protect the biological diversity of our planet. The first meeting was in Brazil in 1992, when the coordinating body for the protection and conservation of biological diversity was established, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

As part of the "Millennium Plan" the CBD Convention was What is described as "mass extinction" should be stopped by 2010! The extinction has not stopped, spokespeople for conservation groups claim that the main failure stems from a lack of budgets that stems from unwillingness (of politicians) and goals that were vague and unfocused. According to the organizers of the convention, today there is more understanding of the fact that "the economy of human society depends and relies on biological diversity" an understanding that was lacking in the past, therefore the declared goal of the convention in Nagoya is to stop extinction by 2020.

Today, about 13% of the land areas and 1% of the sea areas are declared as reserves, the goal of the conference organizers is to declare 25% of the land areas as reserved areas and 15% of the oceans as marine reserves. As well as diverting budgets to conservation activities (mainly in "Third World" countries), the Amazon Basin, Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean Islands, East and South Africa, the Congo Basin, are the main targets.

The host - Japan, will try to present itself as the "protector of biological diversity" by accepting and approving decisions of the articles in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to limit fishing for tuna, sharks and other marine species. and trying to ignore the slaughter of whales and dolphins).

During the preparations for the convention (in South Korea), many governments agreed to the establishment of an "Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services" (IPBES) mechanism.

Conservationists think that this body can be essential in convincing the leaders of countries and governments of the need to preserve nature, some say that such a body (EPCC) will have a role equivalent to the "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change" (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC. The CBD will be for the IPCC a source of information based on which countries, governments and even commercial/industrial companies will act, will act by virtue of binding decisions in the United Nations. Ratification and establishment of the PCC will involve the agreement/commitment of the "developed" countries to finance conservation activities in "developing" countries.

The hundreds of participants from over 190 countries at the gathering that will last two weeks must decide on accepting a set of 20 goals (strategies) to be completed over the next decade. Despite and perhaps because of the importance of the convention, differences of opinion arise between "developed" and "developing" countries when the developing countries set conditions for nature conservation and protection activities.

It is worth noting that most of the activities are required in developing countries, (in developed countries there are few natural areas left that are not damaged and can be restored), one of the initial conditions that the "developing" states is the payment of compensations and/or royalties for natural resources in their field from which expensive and prestigious products are developed such as: Medicines, slimming preparations and cosmetics, genetic developments and others. As the issue is defined by the developers - "gene fee".

There is an intention to settle the issue of rights, but the debate is in progress. When one of the countries pushing for the regulation of the "genetic wage" is Brazil, whose representative defines the behavior of the "developed" as "robbing genetic resources", there is a chance to reach an agreement that will also satisfy the "robbed".

The current budget for the preservation of the natural environment stands at 3 billion dollars per year, the "developers" demand to increase the budget a hundredfold. When it is clear to everyone that most of the money comes from the "developed" (with the help of the World Bank) and flows towards the "developing".

Despite the preparations and the hopes that many have at the gathering, after a week of discussions the differences and disagreements between the various parties ("developed" versus "developing") are more noticeable, with the "developed" demanding setting clear and immediate goals, while the "developing" demanding progress only after they are accepted A decision on "genetic wages" - payment of royalties and sharing in the profits of the products that were originally produced from the "developing" areas.

In the last three days of the convention, the environment ministers of the representatives are supposed to participate, the hope is that they will reach agreements that will ratify the agreements and the conservation will start (the king?).

The gathering was held in the shadow of the information that we and our planet are in the midst of mass extinction, the extinction that is described as: "100 to 1000 times greater and faster than the average natural disappearance process of biological species", an extinction that occurs mainly because of: pollution of water, air and food sources, wild hunting and fishing, climate change , in the deforestation of forests and habitats of plants and wild animals, an extinction (sixth) that biologists describe as greater than the one that occurred 65 million years ago!

As a reinforcement of the need for conservation and protection, the people of the "World Wildlife Fund" draw attention to a number of species that were on the verge of extinction and with the help of conservation (and restoration) today maintain healthy populations that give chances of continuity to the species, such are: ferret (black-footed) and condor in North America, viconia in Peru, A wide-lipped rhinoceros in South Africa, several species of whales, (we have success in keeping the goats, deer, wolves, jackals and restoring donkeys, wild animals and rams)... good luck!

Scientists warn that if the necessary steps are not taken, there will be serious damage to the globe's ability to provide environmental services, that is, damage to the supply of agricultural products from land and sea, as well as damage to the quality of air and drinking water. Humanity will reach a situation where it must create sources of existence for itself instead of "services" that the natural environment provides today: clean water and air, food resources, building materials and others, all of these are going to waste. The "production" of those services artificially will be much more expensive than the resources required to preserve the ability of the natural environment to continue providing its "services".

Even if they reach an overall agreement, the financing problem will remain, because although it has already been said and written that the preservation of nature and the environment generates economic profit, in order to preserve it, investment is necessary, the investment of large sums that are not at the disposal of the "developing", therefore the "developed" are required to provide the resources they will require, The first to declare its willingness to finance was Japan, a Japanese spokesperson announced that "the Japanese government will provide aid (for the purpose of nature conservation) in the amount of 2 billion dollars in the next three years.

Maybe to quiet the scruples of conscience and voices of criticism about the slaughter of the Vietnamese? The European Union is required to compare the amount (in relation to the number of countries), while the US, which is not a signatory to the convention (CDB), participates in the conference as an observer.

One of the topics that come up at the conference is "Blue Harvest" fishing in the continents, unlike the fishing in the oceans, the fishing in rivers and lakes is mainly done by local residents using simple methods and the harvest is consumed in the immediate environment, like the fishing along rivers (and lakes) in Southeast Asia, Africa, in South America, but also in North America and Europe. (The same is true in our Kinneret). Therefore, even though the "land" fishery constitutes only about a fifth of the fishing in the oceans, its importance to the residents is great and its environmental damage is minimal. For example, in Africa alone, about 100 million people make a living from "blue harvest" and supply fish to hundreds of millions more. The "land" fishery is estimated at 20 million tons, an amount that without environmental damage can increase threefold!

Fishermen are harmed mainly because of dams and power plants, as well as deforestation, industrial wastewater, depletion of sources due to climatic changes. Industrial fishing of Eilat fish and eels has been damaged due to a global decrease in fish quantities. Part of the damage is due to "marginal fishing", when species that are not "consumed" or small fish are caught in the nets or rods, these are discarded (dead) and the future damage is clear.

Another issue is the "environmental engineering" "geo-engineering" according to many (and good ones) the UN should require an immediate cessation (moratorium) of experiments such as: dispersing iron in the oceans to accelerate phytoplankton growth, seeding clouds to reduce rain, dispersing sulfur to simulate volcanic activity that will stop the warming, activities carried out by entities and countries in attempts to stop the effects of warming, entities and governments are engaged in "environmental engineering" as a substitute for reducing emissions and pollution, actions that must cease until a comprehensive test that will determine their impact on the environment, a test that will rule out any possibility of negative effects on the environment and humanity.

While the discussions in Nagoya continue, additional species that were unknown to science are being discovered, we have long been informed about species of fish, molluscs and arthropods that were discovered in the depths of the seas and on coral reefs, what the "World Wildlife Fund" WWF stated that between 1999 and 2009, 1220 were discovered and identified (in the Amazon) Species of animals and plants! (of which more than fifty mammals) In a contemporary survey in the Amazon forests a new species is discovered (in origin) every day! The meaning of the information is that many species unknown to science become extinct and disappear before their existence is known.

According to data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a quarter of the mammal species, a third of the amphibian species, an eighth of the bird species, a fifth of the plants, are at various levels of danger of extinction.

In May, the UN issued a report according to which we are approaching the point of no return "tipping points" of damage to systems such as: the Amazon basin (due to deforestation), coral reefs (bleaching due to warming), a population of edible fish that is harmed by wild fishing, these and others are close to the point Their population and their environment will not be able to recover from it, since humanity is already "extracting" from the globe 50% more resources than their capacity to regenerate, if preventive measures are not taken against wasteful use and population explosion. In 2030, humanity will need resources in such an amount that two balls will be needed to provide them.

If the conference does not agree on the goals, they will face problems of verification if companies and businesses whose activities will be harmed as well as the great problem of human society... the population explosion, even though the "greens" claim (a claim that is proven correct) that conservation brings proven economic return and an improvement in the living conditions of the residents, to cbd There is no binding mechanism, so it is difficult to see how decisions are implemented without the full agreement and commitment of heads of state! Agreement and commitment that may be fulfilled if the IPCC is ratified.

The convention was held with the recognition and general agreement that the biggest problem is global warming. Which puts the ball back in the hands of the participants of the next conference that will deal with it, in the hope that it will end in a more positive way than the "fiasco" that was in Copenhagen.

In an environmental gesture and with the intention of supporting the trend of conservation with the understanding that "conserving nature gives an economic advantage" the World Bank set up a fund that will finance a project in which ten countries (among them: India, Colombia, Norway and others) will calculate the financial/economic value of the damage to the natural environment in their territories against the chances of profit when Nature is preserved.

Within the framework of that project, the damage to the public (due to environmental damage) will also be calculated against the profits that private industrial/commercial companies generate while damaging the environment, all this after the heads of the bank estimated that the economic damage due to damage to the environment reaches 5 trillion dollars every year. Juxtaposing the damage that causes the loss against the gain in conservation will help convince "decision makers" of the urgent need to allocate enough resources to enable conservation.

Leaders, governments, heads of industries and giant companies must understand that "business as usual" is not an option, the pressure created by the population explosion, the destruction of habitats, the pollution of water sources, the pollution of the oceans and harm to fish, the extinction of species on a geological scale, all of these will lead to the destruction of the foundations of the environment Nature created those foundations on which the existence of the human population is based.

Towards the closing of the conference, the representatives did not reach decisions that must be made unanimously, in an attempt to break the deadlock, representatives gathered at ministerial level, recognizing that a lack of agreement would be comparable to the fiasco that occurred in Copenhagen - at the climate conference, even though the majority of the proposed clauses are agreed upon by the majority of countries, bargaining over those disputed clauses endangers positive decisions.

And since in order to fulfill the decisions it is necessary to accept all the sections together (like our law of arrangements?) a stalemate is created. And again the main stumbling block is: the demand of the developing countries for royalties for developments that were stolen from their countries. There is a convention (which is not binding) for "access and benefits-sharing" - "ABS" from resources, but the "developing" demand is for "retroactive" payment, while the "developed" do not comply to the convention

Another point of contention is how much ocean surface will be preserved. The "developed" demand 15% the "developing" agree to 6%. Japan (the host) offers a compromise - 10%?

Even if there is general agreement, the budgeting problem will remain, therefore many of the participants are economists and accountants who must internalize the green approach. according to which the preservation of the natural environment is economic!

The things were written in the last ten days during the convention and the discussions that took place there, out of hope but also a lack of faith ("personal skepticism") that led to the concluding paragraph: the summaries are not unequivocal and the decisions are not satisfactory and in the background we don't see any activity that will stop the extinction, so all that remains is to add and remind that until instead of Controlling the environment for the sake of the human population, will control the human population for the sake of the environment. The future of our planet and the future of humanity will be in oceans empty of fish, burned forests, polluted rivers, desert dust and snot!

In the last moment :
However, the news from the closing of the conference is about a general agreement while making compromises, it is not clear (yet) what the summaries are and what these compromises are, these will also be examined at the Earth Summit to be held in Brazil in 2012, it is to be hoped that (finally) there is an understanding and internalization that instead Control of the environment for the sake of the human population, will be control of the human population for the sake of the environment. Success for all of us.

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