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Honorable Union Minister of Environment and Forests_ Thiru A Raja


									              UNDP Statement to the Concluding Session of the
                    Megadiverse Ministerial Meeting
          Organized by Government of India, 20-21 January 2005, Delhi, India
                  Delivered by Charles McNeill on 21 January 2005

Honorable Union Minister of Environment and Forests, Thiru A. Raja, Honorable State
Minister Namo Narayan Meena, Dr. Pradipto Ghosh, Mr. Suresh Chandra, Mr. Desh
Verma, Dr. P Balakrishna of IUCN, Dr. N. Rotich of UNEP, Distinquished Delegates,

UNDP has been honored to participate with the Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries
(LMMC) this week and we are encouraged by the productive three day meeting that
preceded this Ministerial session.

The Knowledge and Policy Network

I wish to report briefly on the Group‟s deliberations on the establishment of a
„Knowledge and Policy Network‟ (KPN) for the Group of LMMCs through a GEF Mid-
Sized Project (MSP) which took place on 18 and 19 January 2005.

As you know, the KPN is designed to support the LMMC achieve its objective of
increasing the value that biodiversity provides to its member countries and people by
facilitating the exchange of experience, promoting best practice, learning, research and
development, and the generation of critical policy positions related to biodiversity and
sustainable development. The KPN is being designed to take advantage of the unique
assets of the Group which include its significant political and biological resources and
shared interests, as well as its extremely broad and complementary experience across the
member countries in relevant biodiversity areas.

The KPN is envisioned to have two dimensions, (1) „expert to expert‟ exchanges of
experience within and across member countries, and (2) the generation of „knowledge
products‟, i.e. useful tools to codify and disseminate useful approaches to biodiversity.
The KPN will facilitate the exchange of experience among the Group on key issues of:
the International Regime, capacity building on access and benefit sharing (ABS) and
other topics, traditional knowledge (TK), intellectual property rights (IPR), biosafety and
biotechnology. The KPN should facilitate the strengthening of the capacity of LMMC
countries in ABS and TK areas by helping various sectors in each country work together
on common challenges, including the governmental, non-governmental, communities,
research and academic and private sectors. The KPN is expected to generate new GEF
proposals and to help the Group benefit from CBD COP 7‟s decision to invest
significantly in capacity building for ABS and TK, among other topics.

During the discussions, the Group provided substantial input into the scope and nature of
the KPN and we have captured that input for incorporation into the concept paper. Now is
the time to develop the first draft of the GEF Mid-Sized Project and a „framework‟ draft
will be distributed to the LMCC by the time of the LMMC‟s next meeting in Bangkok
when the International Regime will be discussed. Some three weeks or so will be

allocated to the Group to make comments which will be incorporated into a final project
soon thereafter.

The Megadiverse Cooperation Fund

With regard to the Megadiverse Cooperation Fund (MCF), as you know, UNDP has
presented the proposal to the LMMC during both its June 2003 Technical meeting in
Kuala Lumpur and during its February 2004 Ministerial meeting in Kuala Lumpur, and
have revised and strengthened the proposal based on guidance received. Noting the
decision the New Delhi Declaration of LMMC on ABS of 21 January 2005 to “jointly
work further towards creating the MCF, to support projects in member countries that
meet the objectives of the Group,” UNDP stands ready to forward the initiative as

UNDP and the LMMC

As we have mentioned previously to the Group, UNDP works on biodiversity because, as
you know better than anyone, it is key to human livelihoods – by providing the food, fuel,
fodder, timber, medicines, and inputs to industrial processes. Biodiversity also provides
the services on which society as a whole depends such as watersheds, pollution and
disease control, soil fertility and carbon sequestration.

For these reasons biodiversity is also directly related to the achievement of the
Millennium Development Goals – a global campaign to eradicate the worst aspects of
poverty, hunger and disease by 20015 to which UNDP is enormously committed and
focused. The upcoming „Five Year Review of the MDGs‟ in September 2005 could
provide the Megadiverse Group another major platform for forwarding its own work for
sustainable development in a way that also advances the MDG campaign.

UNDP is also committed to the critical issues of access and benefit sharing (ABS) and
traditional knowledge (TK) – a mandate that flows naturally from UNDP‟s commitment
to both the MDGs and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and from its role
as an implementing agency of the GEF.

Working through its network of offices and policy specialists in some 140 countries –
including all of the LMMC countries – and several regional centres, UNDP assists
developing countries build national capacities in ABS, TK and related areas. This
assistance is derived from UNDP/GEF work on Enabling Activities, National
Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP) and National Reports on biodiversity,
as well as in a number of its over 200 full-size and more than 30 Mid-Size GEF projects.
UNDP GEF‟s work in more than 75 countries on the Small Grants Programme (SGP) and
its work with local communities through the Equator Initiative is also contributing to
communities abilities and capacities to value and protect their own biological wealth.

UNDP is in the process of finalizing a Practice Note on ABS and TK to provide practical
guidance to country offices, and we have prepared an assessment ABS experiences in a
number of countries.

All of this uniquely positions UNDP to operate – on behalf of the LMMC -- at various
levels including the global, regional, national and local community levels.

The Megadiverse countries are our clients and one of our roles is to help „level the
playing field‟ for developing countries to protect their own interests and wellbeing. There
are few more important and fast-evolving such areas than ABS and TK. Our
Environmental Focal points in each Megadiverse country stand ready to support you –
and those of us working on biodiversity at UNDP‟s headquarters, also stand ready to
support you as needed.


We have greatly appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with our long-standing and
valued partner, IUCN, and in particular, with our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Pisupati
Balakrishna, whose leadership and vision, and very competent team, have contributed so
much to this meeting.

We are also delighted to have participated in these past few days with our sister agency,
UNEP, and with Dr. Neremiah Rotich, UNEP‟s representative in this meeting.

We are especially grateful to the Government of India for inviting UNDP to participate
with them and with the LMMC in this critically important meeting. We also thank the
Government of India for the generous hospitality throughout these well-managed

We very much look forward to further collaboration with the LMMC in the coming
months and years.

Thank you.


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