Why are CBD and its protocols failing to conserve biodiversity?
By Webmaster, 27 July 2012
With the recent agreement on Nagoya Protocol, Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) is confirmed as a fundamental biodiversity strategy that can contribute to biodiversity conservation, particularly through access to genetic resources and transfer of relevant technologies (UEBT 2012). Although the Nagoya Protocol is yet to develop fully, so far it does not emphasize the range of technologies needed to promote and enhance biodiversity conservation. In particular biotechnology is part of the array of modern technologies that has great potential to implement three of the main objectives of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)––especially utilization of genetic resources (UNEP 2012).
It is clear that the policy-making framework to help develop strategies and suitable technologies for biodiversity conservation is a complex challenge at the heart of CBD; particularly in getting different governments and intergovernmental organizations together to pursue a common goal. But given the potential benefits of GMOs for developing countries and yet the paradoxical controversy surrounding the adoption of GMOs in developed countries, international intervention is needed urgently to resolve these issues to enhance both conservation and development. This is the main argument of Adenle Ademola’s paper in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation. He argues that while country government should encourage the use of GMOs, effort should be directed towards identifying and promoting indigenous technologies within local communities. For example, scaling up and improving existing technologies including forest management, water resources management, crop protection and conservation tillage can play a significant role in biodiversity conservation. Give lack of well computerized comprehensive list of the world’s species as indicated by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), scientific effort must be increased to facilitate access to the links between biodiversity and human and well being for a wider community of users. To ensure successful achievement of the Aichi targets in 2020, considerable effort will be required from the international community and national governments through prioritising technological innovation investments, funding and implementing biodiversity policies from local to national government, promoting education and awareness creation among wider community, especially women and youth. Moreover, increased participation through informed debates that engage decision-makers, scientists and local communities, and institutional support is fundamental to biodiversity conservation and conflict management (Young et al. 2012). Unfortunately, the preference of ideology over pragmatism in the environmental movement make informed debates increasingly difficult. Opposition to the use of GMOs (due to their suspected negative impact on biodiversity) particularly by well coordinated Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have contributed to slow the adoption of this new technology in all countries, especially so for developing countries. Against the backdrop of possible negative impacts of GMOs on agricultural biodiversity, recent well documented evidence has shown positive environmental impacts of GMOs on biodiversity over the past decade (Brookes and Barfoot 2010; Carpenter 2011; Lui et al. 2012). For example, recent data analysis from 1990 to 2010 in six provinces in China shows a decreased abundance of aphid pests associated with widespread adoption of GM cotton and reduced levels of chemical spray (e.g., insecticide) for cotton production (Lui et al. 2012). This study demonstrates how GM crop in terms of its ecological benefits can promote the use of biocontrol services in agricultural landscapes in China. China is a lead example in Asia where adoption of GM crops has continued to grow in the past 10 years with good record of safety and risk assessment of GMOs (Huang et al. 2005; James 2012).