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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > CBD Conference fails to protect Ancient Forests

CBD Conference fails to protect Ancient Forests

Date : 25th Apr 2002, Source : Newsgroup

"Greenpeace, as well as some governments, came here with high hopes to reverse the trend of ancient forest destruction. We are left only with minor steps that fail to match the scale of the crisis. Governments will not be able to justify this to future generations who will inherit the results of their failure."

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GREENPEACE CALLS ON WORLD LEADERS TO RESCUE THE LAST ANCIENT FORESTS;
CONFERENCE FAILS TO REVERSE TREND OF DESTRUCTION

19 April 2002

The Hague, the Netherlands - Greenpeace today criticised world governments for failing to seize the opportunity to take urgent measures to protect the most biologically diverse areas on the planet - the last ancient forests - at this week's meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD. Despite having recognised that the world's "biodiversity is being destroyed by human activities at unprecedented rates," they failed to take the necessary action to stop further loss and admit that their efforts so far have been "too few, too little and too late."

This is the first time since the Rio Earth Summit that world governments discussed the fate of the world's last ancient forests. However, the Ministerial declaration released this morning ignores the strong recommendations on action provided by their own scientists (SBSTTA) which stressed "the need to urgently prioritise biodiversity conservation efforts on the most endangered and environmentally significant forest ecosystems and species, in particular primary [Ancient] forests."(1) Some countries such as France, Germany and Russia supported action to stop the ongoing destruction. However, Brazil, Canada and Malaysia spent two weeks watering down the action program and blocking progress and failing to reverse forest loss and tackle illegal logging. The work program delivered failed to match the scale and urgency of the forest crisis.

"Environment Ministers came to the Hague to decide the fate of the world's last ancient forests and could have made history," said Gudrun Henne from Greenpeace. "Greenpeace, as well as some governments, came here with high hopes to reverse the trend of ancient forest destruction. We are left only with minor steps that fail to match the scale of the crisis. Governments will not be able to justify this to future generations who will inherit the results of their failure."

The Conference of Parties of the CBD failed to: - Stop further industrial activities in intact ancient forests until responsible plans for forest conservation and sustainable use are agreed [Moratoria]; - Ensure that timber and other forest products are produced and traded in a legal and ecologically responsible way [Measures]; and - Commit to even the most minimal funds to pay for forest conservation and sustainable use [Money].

Adriana Carvalho dos Santos (17) from Brazil, one of a thousand young people from the Greenpeace Kids for Forests, representing 19 countries, who came to the Hague to express their concerns and hopes said: "I do not understand what games are played here. All they care about is money and their own interests. Our forests are our future. Within my lifetime the jaguar and the gorilla may have nowhere left to live. I just can't believe it!"

"The last ancient forests are now in the hands of Heads of Government who will meet at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg in August this year," said Henne. "Greenpeace will continue to do what's right for the forests and the people who live in and depend on them for their livelihood and culture. We will continue to expose all those who threaten their survival."

The ministers also discussed proposals to stop and prevent biopiracy, the theft of genetic resources from developing countries by US pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. This is reflected in the declaration. Greenpeace believes that any agreement to stop biopiracy will be insufficient if the resources to be shared are disappearing. Most of the biodiversity on the planet is found in the last ancient forests, which are still not protected.

Ancient forests house up to 80 percent of the world's terrestrial biodiversity. During the 12 days that delegates met to discuss the fate of the ancient forests, another 360,000 hectares of ancient forests were lost - that's an area the size of over half a million football fields.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Gudrun Henne, +31 629 561 385
Gina Sanchez, +31 627 000 064


1. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)"Agrees, recognising the critical values of primary forests for the conservation of biodiversity and the current alarming rate of loss of such forests, to give priority in the programme of work to activities that could significantly contribute to their conservation." SBSTTA 7 Montreal, 18 November 2001.



Document last updated on Tuesday 30 August 2011

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