Policy Proposals Environment and Energy Towards Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity - Recommendation for the success of the 10th Conference of Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity -
June 15, 2010
- Recommendation for the success of the 10th Conference of Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity - [Summary]
[ Recommendation ]
Since the introduction of Keidanren Global Environment Charter #1 in 1991, Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) has been continuing and promoting activities aimed at the achievement of a harmonization of environment and economy. In terms of biological diversity, Nippon Keidanren has taken various actions mainly through "Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation" and "Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund" established in 1992. In the past 18 years, based on contributions from business and individuals, the Fund supported 917 nature/biodiversity conservation projects conducted by NGOs not only in Japan but also in rest of the world. The Committee announced "Declaration of Nippon Keidanren on Nature Conservation" #2 in 2003 and promotes nature conservation activities in consideration of biodiversity. In March 2009, the Committee drew up "Declaration of Biodiversity and Action Policies by Nippon Keidanren" by refining the Declaration of Nippon Keidanren on Nature Conservation. It specifies basic principles and guidelines for private companies willing to act on biodiversity. The Committee also prepared a guidebook and compiled case studies to call for its member companies' voluntary and active efforts.
At the 10th conference of parties to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP10) to be held in October 2010 at Nagoya, Aichi-Prefecture, discussions will take place on themes relevant for business community including establishment of new global targets for Post-2010, measures to promote private sector engagement, financial mechanism to support developing countries and access and benefit-sharing (ABS) #3.
The key to COP10's success is to achieve objectives of CBD, namely, conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and access and fair and equitable benefit-sharing in harmony with various interests of Parties including Japan. It is expected for the Government of Japan to show leadership as the COP presidency.
1. Promotion of biodiversity actions of companies
Nippon Keidanren presented specifies a series of principles and guidelines for companies willing to act on biodiversity in "Declaration of Biodiversity and Action Policies by Nippon Keidanren" announced in March 2009. Based on the Declaration, business community will continue to promote activities contributing to the three objectives of the convention.
(1) Promotion of diverse and voluntary actions
Biodiversity conservation focuses on nature itself, but scientific knowledge, data and facts are neither sufficiently understood nor shared. Because relationships between actions on nature and ecosystems and their impacts are not always clear, unexpected reactions may happen sometimes. Development of rational and objective indicators on values of nature and ecosystems are also not fully established yet.
Therefore, in order to address biodiversity challenges effectively, which include uncertainties, business community put emphasis on adaptive management #4, a recommended approach for biodiversity, and promotes various companies' voluntary actions and their reviews (Plan-Do-Check-Action cycle) (See principle 3 of the Declaration).
(2) Concrete and effective contribution to biodiversity
The very nature of biodiversity lies in geographical endemism. Each ecosystem is closely connected with livelihoods of local people. So, offsetting activities in different places or one-fits-all approach is often inappropriate and it is difficult to develop globally applicable common indicators or indices to evaluate biodiversity and ecosystems.
Taking such situation into consideration, biodiversity actions should aim to contribute to local biodiversity and people in a concrete and substantive manner #5. Regardless of level of connection to own business, business community will actively promote effective and concrete biodiversity activities suited to local situation.
(3) Contributions through management and technological resources which are in harmony with nature
Japanese companies have actively engaged in environmental issues for long time. Through wisely using natural resources, gifts from nature, and sustain them for next generations (efficient use and recycling of resource and energy), and developing innovative technologies like pollution prevention technologies, as well as diffusing such technologies. Japanese companies will continue to contribute to biodiversity through its management and technological resources which are in harmony with nature (See principle 4 and 5 of the Declaration).
(4) Collaboration with various stakeholders
Collaborations with experts, NGOs, local people and governments are effective when companies act on biodiversity since they have broader range of knowledge and experiences on biodiversity. Companies will try to collaborate with various stakeholders. Such collaborations may also complement scientific uncertainties (See principle 6 of the Declaration).
(5) Development of a society that will nurture biodiversity
Biodiversity is the issue of society as a whole and it cannot be solved without every stakeholder's involvement. Therefore, it is important to develop a society and culture that will nurture biodiversity. Companies will cooperate to enhance understandings and awareness not only among their employees but throughout the society by environmental education etc. (See principle 7 of the Declaration).
(6) Main activities at COP10
During the COP10 period, Nippon Keidanren, mainly through Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation, will implement various activities to further promote active biodiversity efforts of Japanese business community and to send the message to the world.
- Business-Governments-NGOs dialogue to exchange opinions regarding measures and good examples for the promotion of business sector engagement
- Social meeting and reception with representatives of each country and business managements
- Launch of "Private sector engagement initiative on biodiversity" and international exchange event
- Introduction of history of Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund and its supported nature conservation projects
- Photo contest and exhibition of conservation activities supported by Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund
- Introduction of activities of Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation and its member companies
2. Expectations for the Government of Japan as the presidency of COP10
It is expected that the Government of Japan will consider following points in negotiations at COP10 and subsequent national policy development processes.
It is especially essential in achieving CBD objectives (conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and access and benefit-sharing) to harmonize ethical aspects in biodiversity conservation and economic aspects as the basis of livelihoods of people based on scientific knowledge. The recognition that the balance among ethics, science and economy is important #6 included in the chair's summary #7 of "Kobe Biodiversity Dialogue" held last October hosted by the Ministry of Environment should be fully taken into consideration.
(1) Flexible and realistic target-setting
Recently, CBD secretariat released "Global Biodiversity Outlook 3" (GBO-3). It pointed out that biodiversity loss is continuing and we failed to achieve the global target set at COP6 in 2002 (2010 Biodiversity Target: to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss).
New global target beyond 2010 (Post-2010 Biodiversity Target) will be discussed at COP10. New target should not be rigid or restrictive but be flexible enough to enable various actions suitable to respective local condition of nature and ecosystems. In addition, it is important to set realistic and achievable targets.
National policy should be developed through an adequate consultation with stakeholders while maintaining a framework under which flexible actions suitable for local biodiversity condition can be taken.
(2) Promotion of scientific knowledge / data collection
Scientific knowledge, data and facts regarding nature or ecosystems are not adequately understood or shared. In addition, no consensus has been formed about rational and objective set of indicators to evaluate nature and ecosystems. Among other things, scientific knowledge and data are essential to take appropriate actions against biodiversity issues. It is expected for the Government of Japan to lead international discussions towards collection, improvement and sharing of knowledge, information and data regarding biodiversity and ecosystems.
(3) Establishment of biodiversity project support mechanism
Awareness raising and human resource development in biodiversity-rich developing countries significantly contribute to biodiversity conservation. Therefore, it is expected for the Government of Japan to lead international discussions towards the establishment or enhancement of mechanisms which promote concrete conservation activities. Such mechanisms include providing project-based supports to biodiversity conservation activities in the world conducted by NGOs etc. and enhancing consultancy/advisory functions based on Japanese experiences and technologies.
As for ODA, it should be more biodiversity-sound and should be utilized for promotion of business which harmonizes biodiversity and development/livelihood improvement as well as for human resource development.
(4) Respect for voluntary actions
The importance of the engagement of private sector such as companies, as well as that of governmental organizations, in biodiversity conservation is increasingly recognized. COP8 in 2006 and COP9 in 2008 adopted decisions #8 which call for private sector/business engagement. Also in COP10, measures for promoting private sector engagement will be discussed. Even scientific knowledge/data are not adequately understood or shared, conditions should be arranged to promote their diverse, creative and voluntary conservation actions in accordance with each company's characteristics by sharing "basic principles #9" (including the concept of "adaptive management") between public and private sectors #10. Business community will promote actions suitable for the situation of each local ecosystem, and expect supportive measures such as enhancing scientific knowledge and data, and an incentive for technology development rather than regulations.
Moreover, awareness raising of biodiversity among consumers or general public is also important to promote actions by society as a whole in addition to companies.
There is an on-going discussion on company performance standards/criteria setting. Firstly it is significantly difficult to formulate standards for nature as nature has complex cause-and-effect relationships and relevant scientific data is not sufficient while such standards should be objective and fair to all companies in various industries, forms, scales and area in the world. Secondly standard setting may discourage diverse and creative biodiversity related activities and efforts suited for local characteristics. Thirdly certification or verification of compliance with such standards may require additional costs and indirect expense would increase. At the same time, it should be kept in mind that relationship between biodiversity and local people vary from place to place. Therefore, the establishment of standards cannot be a cost-effective measure and should be considered carefully. For the time being, the accumulation of various experiences and validations by many companies will be of importance.
(5) Problems of economic valuation and financial instrument
1. Economic valuation
As a part of the private/business sector engagement promotion measure, a mechanism which evaluates impacts on biodiversity economically and requires equivalent amount of money or compensation when biodiversity or "gift from nature" brought by biodiversity is used or damaged is under consideration. This methodology is effective in evaluating/managing relationships between business activities and ecosystems/biodiversity but is still in a trial-and-error phase because indicators, the basis of evaluation, and scientific knowledge/data are not sufficiently developed. Thus, each country should be encouraged to accumulate, validate and improve indicators, scientific knowledge/data, and various experiences including trial-and-errors to establish the basis of discussions about measurements and methodologies which are based on the result of economic valuations.
2. Biodiversity offset
Adoption and application of compensation measures such as credit buying by monetary payment means for damaging biodiversity or ecosystem services #11 could lead acceleration of biodiversity destruction. The first priority is to promote activities contribute directly to biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity is vulnerable and indispensable, so, in many cases, it is not possible to compensate with money or credit. Even if it is possible, people and community dependent on local biodiversity should be fully considered.
To implement biodiversity offset in appropriate manner to contribute to biodiversity, scientific valuation that reflects each ecosystem's status and characteristics correctly should be conducted as its pre-condition. Development of not arbitrary/subjective but objective/rational indices required for quantification, improvements of ecosystem data, establishment of a mechanism to which all public project stakeholders and companies can access, and analysis of relationships with livelihoods of local people are essential. As for biodiversity offset, prerequisites necessary to assess its effectiveness should be developed through international cooperation.
There is a discussion that we should degrade no biodiversity at all (no net loss), or when possible, bring positive impacts (net positive impact) at a regional scale. Such concepts are understandable if these are directions that public projects, agriculture, forestry and fishery, and other business activities should aim, or as stakeholder's basic attitude. However, pre-conditions of its introduction including consideration of scientific knowledge and methodologies for rational quantification are not sufficiently established, and social consensus on the level of rigor by which loss (degradation) will be prevented is still lacking. At the moment, the introduction of the concept of no net loss and net positive impact will likely to be an excessive restriction to various public projects and industrial activities. Therefore, application of these concepts should be considered carefully.
As a private sector engagement promotion measure for developing society which nurtures biodiversity, with cooperation from relevant ministries, Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and KEIZAI DOYUKAI (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) launched "Private sector engagement initiative on biodiversity". This initiative aims to increase the number of company engages in biodiversity by recruiting companies agree with the purpose of the Declaration of Biodiversity by Nippon Keidanren and willing to act in compliance with it, and to improve each company's biodiversity efforts. Although its official launch will be at COP10, but more than 300 companies are already expected to participate by now. This initiative also serves as a multi-stakeholder framework under which industry organizations, NGOs, researchers and governmental agencies etc. which support companies' voluntary efforts can exchange information. In addition, cooperation with foreign organizations having similar aims and with Asian nations will be considered in the future.
Through such framework, Nippon Keidanren will continue to support the member companies to sustain and further promote their concrete and effective activities beyond COP10 to contribute to the realization of the biodiversity-sounds society.
- http://www.keidanren.or.jp/kncf/comm_manifesto.html (in Japanese)
- See "basic concept on "access and benefit-sharing" of CBD" (March 16, 2010) for Nippon Keidanren's view on ABS.
- Adaptive management defines that since nature and ecosystems are complex and not static, and there are uncertainties rooted in lacks of knowledge and understandings, when implementing any biodiversity effort, respective processes for trial and error, research, analysis, and feed-back must be included.
- For example, it is impossible to alternate the area where is the only habitat for certain endemic species. If there are people living by benefits brought by local nature, damaging local biodiversity means destructions of such people's life and culture. Therefore, neither the destruction of such area's biodiversity nor irrational restriction of resource use in the name of conservation should be permitted.
- For example, avoidance of certain methodologies including; one that is economically viable but does not contribute to biodiversity conservation, or conservation activity based on it does not contribute to improvement of local community's life; one that is environment-friendly but seems likely to cause side effects; and one that is scientifically proved but lacks economic viability or damages local community's benefits.
- http://www.biodic.go.jp/biodiversity/kobetaiwa/eng/file_report2009_eng.pdf (PDF)
- Decision VIII-17: private-sector engagement and Decision IX-26:promoting business engagement
- For example, "Declaration of Biodiversity by Nippon Keidanren"
- See "Closing"
- Benefits brought by ecosystems. Human receives many benefits from ecosystems including provision of materials and products such as food, freshwater, timber, non-material benefits like landscape, nature cycling like water cycling, photosynthesis water and soil conservation function etc.