Together, we won

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Dear Plants for the Planet supporter,

You were one of many people who pledged their support on the Plants for the Planet website for better plant conservation.  Great news: a renewed and strengthened Global Strategy for Plant Conservation was adopted by the 193 Governments who met in Nagoya, Japan over the last two weeks (19 – 29 October 2010). Our voices were heard and acted upon; thank-you for taking part. This blog reports on that meeting (see below) and its decision.

Below, you can also see part of the adopted Global Strategy for Plant Conservation document, and the recognition it gives to plant conservation. The organisation behind Plants for the Planet is BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International), and we are working with the botanical community around the world to support the successful implementation of the Strategy.  Everyone can play a part and we will be making suggestions for how you can take action for plant conservation. The Strategy will be reviewed in 2015, and with your help we’ll be ensuring Governments keep to their promises.

Yours faithfully,

The Plants for the Planet Team (at Botanic Gardens Conservation International)

Plants for the Planet

Part of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation adopted by the intergovernmental meeting (COP10) in Nagoya, Japan on 29 October 2010:


UPDATED Global STRATEGY for Plant conservation 2011‑2020

A.        Vision

Without plants, there is no life. The functioning of the planet, and our survival, depends upon plants. The Strategy seeks to halt the continuing loss of plant diversity.

1.                  Our vision is of a positive, sustainable future where human activities support the diversity of plant life (including the endurance of plant genetic diversity, survival of plant species and communities and their associated habitats and ecological associations), and where in turn the diversity of plants support and improve our livelihoods and well-being.

Above taken from The Global  Strategy for Plant Consultation adopted at the Nagoya meeting (29 October).

Other related items from COP10


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Success …

[Posted 14.55 Saturday 30 October, Nagoya time]

David Cooper [from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity]  confirmed to me just now that the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation [GSPC] was indeed adopted, although without the staff post unfortunately.  Creative thinking on that score will be required.

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Final session – lost in translation?

[Posted 10.18 am Saturday 30 October, Nagoya time]

COP 10 has ended and it goes down as the most challenging COP ever. Whether it was worth all the battles and emotions, I am sure time will tell. But this was the most politicised COP.

The final session did not start till 11pm [on 29 October] and still tension was high because of the package deal.

Since the COP is over, we can say Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) was technically adopted. However, because of translation, GSPC was DOC L19 [one of the negotiated texts], the COP president adopted [another of the negotiated texts] L29 twice but not L19. Whether this was lost in translation or not, I am not sure. But David Cooper [from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity] was on the podium [next to the COP President] and indicated it was adopted.

You see, the COP president was chairing in Japanese and documents were adopted in a random manner, so it was difficult for most people to know what was adopted. Everyone however was fighting for the Strategic Plan, ABS and Resource Mobilisation Strategy as a package and this is really what mattered to the floor. The rest of the 43 other papers were just adopted.

GSPC is adopted (but we need to check)!

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Going to the wire

The COP10 is almost over and yet it seems there’s no consensus! The final session has started. Watch the finish here:

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Unbelievable suspense …

[Posted at 10.30 pm on Thursday 28 October 2010 in Nagoya. COP10 ends on 29 October]

The BGCI stall at COP10 Nagoya, Japan

The BGCI stall at COP10 Nagoya, Japan

It’s been a wretched cold rainy day outside, decorated with dripping umbrellas and soggy pamphlets, brightened occasionally by hardy visitors to our botanic gardens stand. But inside the conference centre, up on the fourth floor, it’s suspenseful and sweaty on Planet ABS (Access and Benefit-Sharing). We’ve spent the day waiting for results from the many small groups negotiating and tidying up different pieces of the ABS Protocol.

In the margins this morning, several key countries were attempting some horse-trading, and eventually ministerial facilitators came up with some guidance for the COP – including the necessity to adopt the ABS Protocol. Easier said than done!

All day there have been intense efforts to identify and solve the few key sticking points. A New Zealand delegate compared efforts to use some compromise text on traditional knowledge to the endangered kakapo parrot, noting that neither could fly.

By about 7.30pm, it appeared that the real sticking point for everything is in how ‘utilization of genetic resources’ is defined – basically, whether or not derivatives of genetic resources are included. Everything else hangs on this – when this problem is solved (no sign of it yet), all the other parts and compromise packages will apparently fall into place. There was a painful announcement that ‘despite tremendous effort, we cannot say we’ve found the basis for a breakthrough.’ After reaching this dramatic impasse, the group suspended negotiations and reported to plenary – they were given a midnight deadline by the COP President and are back in session now, desperately trying to reach agreement before it’s too late.

‘Meanwhile, off Planet ABS… the two Working Groups continue to work through the draft COP decisions to get clean versions for tomorrow’s final plenary. The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation has had a little brush with ABS (the reference to ‘fair and equitable benefit-sharing’ in the objectives has been shifted to ‘the three objectives of the Convention’ by the EU). And fungi are in – governments and stakeholders may consider developing conservation strategies for other groups such as algae and fungi (including lichen-forming species). There are many bits of text in all of the draft COP decisions that are still in brackets, waiting for results of the ABS Protocol negotiations.

Unbelievable suspense…

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First Asian Plant Conservation Report

The first Asian Plant Conservation Report has been launched at COP10. The report provides much useful information on progress made by Asian countries towards the targets of the GSPC and highlights cases studies relevant to each target.  The report clearly demonstrates the beneficial influence of the GSPC in stimulating plant conservation action across the region – one that is exceptionally high in plant diversity.  While significant progress is reported against most of the targets, the rapid growth of populations and economies across the region continues to threaten plant diversity. As noted in the report, the illegal trade in plants such as orchids and medicinal plants is a major contributor to plant loss in the region, and clearly greater efforts are needed to address this.  Apart from anything else, the report provides an excellent overview of interesting plant conservation tools and practices that exist in different parts of Asia.

The report is published by the Chinese National Committee for Diversitas and copies can be downloaded at:

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Access and Benefit Sharing

[Reported filed at 6pm on Monday 25 October in Nagoya]

Tired faces sagged today in the room where ABS negotiators reported back after a long weekend, knowing that there’s still masses of work to do before the draft ABS Protocol can be finalised. So much is still undecided – such as the Protocol’s scope.

The Japanese senior vice-minister for the environment made a brief but important appearance (well-documented by TV cameras!) to urge the negotiators on. He promised a treat at the end if they succeed… But time’s running out, as ministers are starting to arrive for the high level segment, and the stakes for biodiversity conservation are high: major country blocs have said they won’t agree to the CBD’s Strategic Plan unless the ABS Protocol is adopted. There were flashes of hope and helpfulness – one of the ABS working group Co-Chairs asked ‘can we ride the wave?’ – but then talks stagnated and circled on seemingly simple points, and some sleepless nights clearly lie ahead.

Can the negotiators pull it off and actually find some compromises in time? Will they get their mystery treats? Will we get an ABS Protocol we can understand and work with, and a global conservation plan for the next 10 years?


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