To:Dr. Angela Twenty One
Priority areas for the global community
Thethree top priority issues that the global community should address toachieve set targets in environment conservation are governmentcommitment, global trade and sensitizing special interest groupsnotably women and youth in environment conservation. These areas havenot been well addressed in the past. There is enough evidence to showthat these areas have potential to impact environment conservationefforts more successfully.
Climatechange is already recognized as one of “the greatest challenges ofour time”1hence the need for urgency in the approach. Agenda 21 of the UNconvention on climate change notes that there is need for globalconsensus and government commitment on climate change and globaltrade. Key nations have not participated and committed fully tovarious climate change resolutions such as the 2002 Johannesburgworld summit on sustainable development and Kyoto Protocol.2The Kyoto protocol mandated industrialized countries to cut carbonemission by 5% from 1990 levels.3The US having earlier signed the agreement reversed its decision andwithdrew from the agreement. The resolution did not also direct onemissions from developing countries such as China and India hencethey were exempt and could not commit.
Thereasons why some countries have failed to commit to these agreementsare diverse. However, most significant reason cited especially in thecase of the Kyoto Protocol which commenced with the Earth Summit heldin Brazil in 1992 is lack of clear targets for developing nations.The US and Australia cited the fact that developing countries such asBrazil, India and China at that time were exempted from emissiontargets.4Consequently, between 1992 and 2007, India and China increased theircarbon emissions by over 103% and over 150% respectively. The US alsoregistered a decreased growth in emissions at only 20% growth againsta global average of 38% in the same period.5To bring this figure down all governments no matter how big or smallmust commit and be given clear feasible emission targets.
Globaltrade is a recognized tool in promoting biodiversity andenvironmental conservation. Global trade when regulated andcontrolled fairly contributes to environment conservation effectivelyin various ways according to Convention on International Trade inEndangered Species (CITES). There are 30,000speciesofanimals and plants that are CITES protected and any trade involvingin these species or their products is closely controlled6Currently, the world is still struggling to contain ivory trade thatfuels poaching of protected species such as the African elephants andrhinos.7Although some species are not necessarily under threat of extinctionto warrant strict control, CITES calls for strict control to avoidutilization incompatible with their survival.
Onthe other hand, the world trade organization (WTO) is committedtowards environment protection. The body promotes sustainable tradepractices that promote environment conservation and calling for fairand open trade policies. The WTO has voiced concerns overprotectionist policies adapted by various governments around theworld that undermine sustainability and economic development as keycontributors to environment conservation.8Other issues addressed by WTO pertain to trade in harmful chemicalssuch HCFC-22 which Chin has been accused of using in coolants.9Better controlled global trade in te future will protect theenvironment in more realistic ways.
Strengtheningrole of major groups
Womenand the youth are two of the largest social groups with a greaterimpact on environment conservation that have been underutilized.Women empowerment as a strategy in social and welfare developmenthave a great role to play in environment conservation in the future.Today, women have made commendable strides in gender equality andtheir involvement in wealth creation. This approach should be adaptedand incorporated in environment conservation and promotionsustainable development across various countries.10Developing countries should be given special attention because inthese countries woman and the youth have been historically beenexcluded from major government decision making and wealth creation,by targeting the youth and women through public awareness inenvironment conservation and sustainable development will create amore environmentally conscious society.
Allthese priority areas point to the most urgent and most significantways that the world can respond to climate change. Get governments onboard, regulating global trade and bringing women and the youth tothe course will deliver results in the next few years.
To:Dr. Frederico Fauna
Theconvention on Convention on Biological Diversity is one of thecornerstones of environmental conservation that will push the worldto a safer and more environmental conscious future. The body wascreated to promote "the conservation of biological diversity,the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitablesharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of geneticresources.… technologies and appropriate funding.”11To enable the CBD to achieve this core function, there is need torelook at some concepts and incorporate new measures to improve itseffectiveness. The recommendations are as follows.
Inthe 2002 WorldSummit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the CBDacknowledged in challenge 13 that “lossof biodiversity continues, fish stocks continue to be depleted,desertification claims more and more fertile land, the adverseeffects of climate change are already evident, natural disasters aremore frequent and more devastating, and developing countries morevulnerable, and air, water and marine pollution continue to robmillions of a decent life.”12The noted challenge indicates that the challenged transcends acrossdifferent government departments and agencies and hence the need tointegrate sustainable development policies across ministries andgovernment departments in order to achieve any meaningful progress.In the current scenario at the CBD, biodiversity is treated as anenvironmental policy concern only relevant to the ministries ofenvironment. Biodiversity concerns should be incorporated to otherministries and promote cross sectional planning and make availablerelevant contributions of biodiversity to specific ministriesindustries and sectors.13This way, governments will have multi pronged approaches tobiodiversity concerns and government departments will act incomplementary manner.
Economicincentives and funding
Someof world unique biodiversity zones face great pressures andchallenges from local factors that threat to diminish the progressachieved so far. Take for instance the Maasai Mara and Serengeti gamereserves which house the highest mountain in Africa and also theeighth wonder of the world in the wildebeest migration. The easternAfrican countries face challenges of encroachment of these gamereserves. Other countries such as South Africa and Kenya incur hugecosts protecting vulnerable biodiversities and species such as thewhite rhino. Economic incentives to these countries should providenecessary resources to fight poaching and encroachment.14Local communities should also be sensitizes on the need to protectthe involved and trained on the need to protect local diversities notonly for tourism purposes but also for sustaining their lives byprotecting the environment.
Tourismalone cannot sustain biodiversity in some countries. Severalcountries have used environmental conservation measures foreco-tourism purposes.15 However, in some case, tourism alone is not enough to sustain suchefforts. East African countries facing terrorism onslaught fromneighboring Somalia have lost billions in tourism revenues as aresult of travel advisories issues by western countries againsttravelling there. This coupled with the threat of Ebola, which thoughlocated in the furthest corner of Africa, is being wrongfullyassociated with the whole of Africa and has led to loss in tourismrevenue. Funding these countries will empower them to developeffective measures to protect their biodiversities. Additionally,when such threats to tourism take effect, CBD should providealternative funding to ensure that conversation programs put in placedo not stall.
Involvementof civil society and humanitarian organizations
Itis a known fact that economic conservation contributes economicallyto local communities and social development. Humanitarian and civilsociety organizations are well interconnected with local communitiesin some countries than governments. In that respect, these groups arebest placed to address biodiversity concerns in given communities.16Additionally, humanitarian organizations have been addressing some ofthe effects of climate change and environmental degradation. Itshould be the concerns of the CBD to ensure that humanitarianorganizations such as Oxfam and Red Cross have incorporatedenvironmental conversation efforts in their programs. Theseorganizations understand best some of the cyclical environmentrelated challenges such as drought as drought, famine and floodingthat affect given societies.
Sustainabledevelopment is the only salvation for the world. There is need tomake the global community understand that environmental conservationdoes not imply sacrificing development and vice versa. Pursuing amiddle ground that pursues betterment of the human race throughdevelopment and environmental conservation is the sure way that cansustain life here on earth. The above methods discussed above arepriority areas to facilitate sustainable development.
11 Conference of the parties fifteenth session Copenhagen, 718 December 2009, p. 1
2 Pring, George. The 2002 Johannesburg world summit on sustainable development:
international environmental law collides with reality, turning Jo`burg into "joke`burg", p. 410
3 Li, Hui, Robert Berrens, Alok Bohara et al. Would developing country commitments affect US
households’ support for a modified Kyoto Protocol? Ecological Economics 48,329– 343. 2004. Web.
4 Li, Hui, Robert Berrens, Alok Bohara et al. Would developing country commitments affect US
households’ support for a modified Kyoto Protocol? Ecological Economics 48 ,329– 343, 2004. Web.
5 Shapiro, Joseph. Trade, CO2, and the Environment. 2014. Web.
6 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
7 Bennett, Elizabeth, Legal Ivory Trade in a Corrupt World and its Impact on African Elephant
Populations. Conservation Biology, Volume 00, No. 0, 1–7.
8 Powers, Ann. The Rio120 Process: Forward Movement for the Environment?. Transnational
Environmental Law, 1:2 (2012), pp. 403–412, P. 410
9 Burns. Ozone Convention
10 Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development
11 Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development
12 World Summit on Sustainable Development
13 Burns, Wil. Geoengineering and Climate Change: Overview
14 United Nations Conference on Environment & Development Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14
15 Bowman, Michael. A Tale of Two CITES: Divergent Perspectives upon the Effectiveness of
the Wildlife Trade Convention. RECIEL 22 (3) 2013. ISSN 2050-0386. 232.
16 Powers, Ann. The Rio120 Process: Forward Movement for the Environment? Transnational
Environmental Law, 1:2 (2012), pp. 403–412, P. 410.