FSM actively participates in Historic Nagoya Protocol
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): November 1, 2010 - At 2:00AM, on Saturday morning, October 30, 2010, the delegates to the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) finalized and agreed upon the terms of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits (ABS).
The Nagoya Protocol covered access to and the sharing of the benefits from the use of the genetic resources of the planet. Meaning that the parties to the Protocol will not only need to obtain the informed consent of indigenous and local communities, prior to accessing the community's genetic resource, they will also share benefits arising from the use of the genetic resources and inform potential users of the traditional knowledge associated with the genetic resources.
Participants of COP10 also agreed on specific biodiversity conservation goals, with a crucial agreement made by all delegates to ensure developed countries will guarantee financial assistance to developing countries to help them meet those conservation goals. These goals, set to be reached by 2020, include decreasing by at least half, the rate of loss of habitats, including forests; increasing to 17% the protection of land and inland waters, and to 10% the protection of coastal and marine waters; restore at least 15% of degraded areas; and make "special efforts" to reduce the pressures faced by coral reefs.
FSM was represented by Marion Henry, Secretary of the Department of Resources and Development, as head of delegation, accompanied by Cindy Ehmes, Program Manager for Environment, Office of Environment and Emergency Management; Ricky Carl and Mae Adams of The Nature Conservancy; and Willy Kostka of the Micronesia Conservation Trust.
On October 29, during the high level segment of COP 10, Henry had been very straightforward in his address to the 122 ministers and 5 Heads of State present at the meeting, stating: "the FSM fully supports the urgent adoption of an international and legally binding Protocol on ABS. Without such a binding agreement, backed by an appropriate financial mechanism, our resources will continue to be ransacked by bio-prospectors under arrangements, or as more often the case, under no arrangement that not only exploit these resources, but also our people."
Henry also advised the delegates of COP10 that FSM had made progress in addressing certain conservation goals. "Under the Micronesia Challenge," he said, "[the FSM has made] a commitment to effectively conserve 30% of our marine and 20% of our terrestrial habitats."
Following the Nagoya Protocol agreement, Henry stated he was very pleased with the outcome. FSM became a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1994. The reefs of the islands of FSM, which provide coastal protection and are the source of livelihood for a majority of Micronesians, are home to nearly 1,000 species of fish and more than 350 species of coral. The islands themselves contain over 1,000 plant species, at least 200 of which are endemic.
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