In Hyderabad, India from 8 – 19 October 2012, delegates from the 193 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) came together for its eleventh meeting (COP 11). The conference took place during the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (UNDB), striving to support and promote implementation of the objectives of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 - 2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative actively participated at this UN conference through side events both independently and in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment.
While the previous conference in Nagoya, Japan in 2010 had been a meeting to define strategy, this year’s summit focused on implementation measures. The conference revolved around clarifying issues on financing for international nature conservation cooperation, implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 – 2020, including Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and the current state in the ratification process and compliance with the Nagoya Protocol. In 2010, as the Nagoya Protocol was agreed upon, a new instrument in international public law was established that created a framework for access and benefit sharing (ABS) of genetic resources. The current task for the parties of the convention is to translate the Nagoya Protocol into national legislation. Additionally, the conference in Hyderabad took up the important issue of coastal and marine biodiversity.
The negotiations in India were indeed tense and the fear of concluding the conference without reaching an agreement was palpable. The old adage “money makes the world go round” accurately depicts the real desire felt during the negotiations to outline a financial plan that would “mobilize resources”. At the very last minute – at 3 a.m. on the final day – the parties reached an agreement: Industrialized nations agreed to double their nature conservation payments to developing countries by 2015. The baseline for financing is derived from the average national payments made during 2006 and 2010. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, summarized this agreement: “These results, coming in a period of economic crisis, demonstrate that the world is committed to implementing the CBD. We see that governments are moving forward in implementation and seeing biodiversity as an opportunity to be realized more than a problem to be solved.” The CBD has compiled a press release that can be found here.
In Nagoya, the parties to the convention highlighted the importance of integrating the private sector into biodiversity protection. With Decision X/21 on Business Engagement, parties agreed to pursue the inclusion of the business world by supporting national business initiatives and dialog platforms. In India, the parties expanded upon this previous decision with a specific resolution on “Business and Biodiversity”. The negotiations as to the role of private sector were difficult and lengthy. It was only possible for the parties to reach an agreement after a number of emergency meetings took place in sub groups, where they worked out finer points. The final document diverged greatly from the initial draft as parties watered down the language and found it necessary to considerably dilute the responsibilities of governments and businesses. The strength of the language was reduced when words such as “promote” were transformed into “consider promoting” or “urge their supply chains” became “encourage their supply chains” and “full integration of biodiversity into private sector activities” turned into “integration of biodiversity into private sector activities”. The CoP-11 decision XI/7. Business and biodiversity can be found here.
Plenary Session at CoP 11, Hyderabad
The ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative actively participated at this UN conference through side events both independently and in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. Carolin Boßmeyer, Managing Director explained: “As a cross-sectorial business network we wanted to present our member companies’ engagement in biodiversity protection and the increasing importance of this issue in the private sector. We see this as a part of corporate responsibility to participate at such conferences.”
At the Interactive Fair for Biodiversity at the CoP 11, the network showcased around 30 best practice examples from its member companies as well as its Corporate Biodiversity Management Handbook. These examples demonstrate that companies take action because it is the foundation of their business models that is affected.
'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative at the Interactive fair for Biodiversity at CoP 11
At the side event "Business and Biodiversity in Transition: 'Biodiversity in Good Company' as an Example for Creating Business Initiatives" on 19 October, five Initiative member companies showcased their activities in biodiversity management, representing the broad sectorial diversity covered by the Initiative:
Together with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, the ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative explained the activities taking place in Germany regarding business and biodiversity. The project “Unternehmen biologische Vielfalt 2020” was set up as a network for business federations, nature conservation groups and government agencies. The ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative is participating in this platform with its network of frontrunner member companies.
Side Event “Germany’s Commitment to Business and Biodiversity: Creating a New Dynamic Platform for Action and Dialogue between Business, Government and Nature Conservation Institutions, and Setting up TEEB Germany”: Nicola Breier, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Carolin Boßmeyer, ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative, Dr. Julian Rode, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH – UFZ, Joost Bakker, Global Nature Fund (from left to right)
In addition to the CoP 11, the second meeting of the “Global Partnership on Business and Biodiversity” took place. The ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative has joined together with this global network of national and regional business initiatives that is currently being set up under the guidance of the CBD. As such, it should enable greater networking chances and create excellent synergy potential. In Japan, the parties to the convention launched the platform in 2010 with their decision to pursue the private sector’s involvement in protecting biodiversity. In Hyderabad this year, the Global Partnership’s members showed their support for this process by signing a “Declaration of Support” that had been drafted by the ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative.
At the UN Biodiversity Converence 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) decided to establish a globan network for national and regional business and biodiversity initiatives. Prior to the 2012 conference, 'Biodiversity in Good Company' initiated a joint Declaration of Support of all partners included so far, which was released at CoP 11 Declaration of Support
Side event "Business and Biodiversity in Transition: 'Biodiversity in Good Company' as an Example for Creating Business Initiatives" (19 October 2012, 13:15 – 14:45). Go to invitation and programme.
Joint side event together with the German Federal Environment Ministry: “Germany’s Commitment to Business and Biodiversity: Creating a New Dynamic Platform for Action and Dialogue between Business, Government and Nature Conservation Institutions, and Setting up TEEB Germany” (18 October 2012, 13:15 – 14:45). Go to invitation and programme.
2nd Meeting of the "CBD Global Partnership on Business and Biodiversity" (16 October 2012, full day, The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace Hotel).
Side Event of the "CBD Global Partnership on Business and Biodiversity" (15 October 2012, 18:15 - 19:45).
See list of all the CoP 11 side events in India here.
During the CoP 11, the 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative showcased some 30 best practices from its member companies as well as its Corporate Biodiversity Management Handbook. The best practices demonstrate how businesses with very diverse challenges include the protection of biological diversity into their environmental management approaches and various fields of action.
Seven member companies actively participated in the conference: Aleph, Fujitsu and Saraya from Japan, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Mars, UPM, and Volkswagen.