Biodiversity and ecosystems

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					                        Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente
                            Oficina Regional para América Latina y el Caribe
                                    UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME

Seventeenth Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of           Limited
Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean
Panama City, Panama                                        UNEP/LAC-IG.XVII/3
                                                           Tuesday March16 2010
26 - 30 de April 2010
                                                           Original: English
      29 to 30 April 2010

      General information that can be used
         by the Ministers and Heads of
         Delegation for the dialogue on

            Biodiversity and Ecosystems
                                                                                  Page i

                                         Table of Contents
Presentation ............................................................................................... 1
I.    State of the Biodiversity in the world and in Latin American and the
Caribbean ..................................................................................................... 2
  Introduction............................................................................................. 2
   Latin America and the Caribbean ............................................................. 3
II. Biodiversity related Multilateral Environmental Agreements: challenges towards
their synergetic implementation ....................................................................... 4
III.   The Economics of ecosystems and biodiversity (“TEEB”) ............................ 5
IV.    International Year of Biodiversity ............................................................ 6
V.     Post 2010 Biodiversity targets................................................................. 7
VI. Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing ....................................... 7
VII. Climate Change, Biodiversity and ecosystem services ................................. 8
VIII. Science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services .................. 9
IX. Some questions to stimulate debate ....................................................... 10
                                                              Page 1

The present document is offered as a succinct background briefing on the theme
“Biodiversity and ecosystems” to facilitate the discussions during the ministerial
segment of the XVII Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin
America and the Caribbean.
Momentum has been building for decades to improve the understanding,
conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems, though more
remains to be done. It is generally agreed that the target to reduce the rate of
biodiversity loss by 2010 has not been met. The international community is working
to identify new global biodiversity goals and targets that are not only responsive to
emerging challenges but also simple, measurable and understood by all relevant
sectors, such that a common agenda for action can be developed.
What is now needed is not another strategy for action, but a fundamental change in
the approach to reducing and subsequently halting biodiversity loss while
maximizing the delivery of ecosystem services. If biodiversity loss and ecosystem
degradation are to stop, action should be directed at containing the negative
impacts of their drivers, something that goes beyond the scope of environment
practitioners. This will require collective action at the highest political level to
conserve and use biodiversity sustainably while reducing the pressures on
Discussions are under way in various forums, to identify the inputs required to
design a new global vision for biodiversity conservation action. These inputs will be
developed in preparation for the high-level segment on biodiversity during the
Sixty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly, in September 2010, and
the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on
Biological Diversity (CBD), in October 2010.
Latin America and the Caribbean is the region with the greatest biological diversity
of the planet and it hosts several megadiverse countries. There is a growing
recognition of the value of biodiversity and the ecosystem services associated and
many countries have adopted regulatory frameworks and policies towards the
protection of biodiversity and sustainable use of its components. Protection of
biodiversity is one of the priorities of the Latin American and the Caribbean
Initiative for Sustainable Development and the Forum of Minister has a long
standing tradition of addressing biodiversity in its deliberations and decisions.
This document presents a brief review of the main issues related to biodiversity and
addresses relevant elements the synergetic implementation of biodiversity-related
multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs)s, the economics of ecosystems and
biodiversity, international year of biodiversity, post-2010 biodiversity targets,
access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits, among other themes. Lastly, a
number of thought-inspiring questions are posed to support discussions during the
ministerial segment.
Page 2

I. State of the Biodiversity in the world and in Latin American and the
1. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment was a clarion call regarding the fate of
the world’s ecosystems and the services that they provide, which are essential to
human well-being. In 2005, the Assessment stated that 60 per cent of those
services were being severely degraded or used unsustainably, but biodiversity loss
continues even now. For example, bird, mammal and amphibian species used by
humans for food and medicine are showing declining trends in their conservation
status similar to or higher than for species not used for such purposes (figure 1) 1.
The loss of these and other species could affect significantly human well-being in
some parts of the world. For example, it has recently been argued that the rapid
and widespread die-off of coral reefs costs $172 billion annually and affects over
500 million people whose livelihoods depend on the services that they provide 2.

2.      The     Millennium      Ecosystem
Assessment has also concluded that
growing consumer demand to satisfy
global lifestyle choices and consequent
patterns of natural resource consumption
are    incompatible     with   sustainable
development. It therefore comes as no
surprise that species loss and ecosystem
degradation      are    being     reported
worldwide. Such broad-scale ecosystem
changes and the drivers of those
changes are now widely recognized and
better understood. Small-scale and
large-scale conversion of land to
agriculture, logging, infrastructure and
commercial development have been Figure 1 – Loss of biodiversity with continued agricultural
widespread and are significant drivers of expansion, pollution, climate change and infrastructure. Source:
                                              GLOBIO, Alkemade et al., 20091
biodiversity loss at the global level. In
LAC, the most important cause of habitat
lost has been the significant expansion, in recent years, of commercial agriculture
for exportation (e.g. soya, biofuels, livestock, fruits, vegetables and flowers) 3 that
is responsible for almost one half of the deforestation in the region4.

    Rob Alkemade, M Bakkenes, M van Oorschot, 2009 “Modeling impacts of global change on terrestrial biodiversity,
    The GLOBIO3 framework” Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), Bilthoven, The Netherlands
    Martinez, M.L.,y otros, 2007. “The coasts of our world: ecological, economic and social importance”. Ecological
    Economics, vol. 63, págs. 254–272.
     World Bank, 2007 MI (Banco Mundial), 2007. América Latina y el Caribe: una región sumamente vulnerable a los
    efectos del cambio climático.
    FAO 2009. “State of the world´s forests.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, Italy
                                                                    Page 3

3. An additional and relevant factor is the relation between biodiversity and climate
change. It is important to take into account not only the impacts of the climate
change on the biodiversity, but also the crucial role that the conservation of the
biodiversity and ecosystems has on the mitigation and adaptation to the climate
Latin America and the Caribbean
4. Latin America and the Caribbean is the region with the greatest biological
diversity of the planet and it hosts several megadiverse countries. The region holds
almost one half of tropical forests, 33% of the total number of mammals of the
world, 35% all know reptile species, 41% of birds, and 50% of amphibians5. It is a
region full of endemism to the degree that, for example, 50% of the plant life of the
Caribbean is unique in the world. This means that LAC region has abundant genetic
resources that come from the biodiversity. In other words, LAC has been extremely
benefited in terms of biodiversity richness and countries aim to generate benefits of
the sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems to promote social-economic
growth and equity.
5. The report Millennium Development Goals: Advances in the Environmental
Sustainability Development in Latin America and the Caribbean6, launched in
February 2010, highlights that the region has achieved considerable advances in
some environmental issues, as it is the increase of the protected areas that are rich
on biodiversity; between 1990 and 2008 the designation of marine and terrestrial
protected areas in LAC were more than doubled. However, the region still faces big
challenges, as halting the deforestation. Between 1990-2005, LAC lost near 69
million hectares of forest equivalent to 7% of the regional forest coverage (LAC has
the highest deforestation rate of the world). Besides, LAC presents limited
information available on topics as the proportion of endangered species and the
proportion of fish living between biologically safe limits. In general, there is
evidence that the region is losing its biodiversity richness at a significant rate.
6. Furthermore, the Environment Outlook of Latin America and Caribbean (GEO-
LAC 2009, forthcoming)5, emphasizes that the region presents one of the highest
rates of habitat loss. The environmental diversity of Latin America and the
Caribbean is one of its essential features. As mentioned before, the high rates of
deforestation pose a large number of species at different levels of risk, both
regionally and nationally. Moreover, one hand, genetic diversity is very high and the
regions counts with are several centres of diversification of species (i.e. Mexico,
Peru, Colombia and Brazil). On the other hand, countries of the region have been
affected by the loss of the mangroves as a result of activities such as unsustainable
tourism development and aquiculture farms. Almost two thirds of the Caribbean
coral reefs are threatened by coastal urbanization, sedimentation, toxic substances,
water acidification and overfishing.
7. GEOLAC 2009 highlights that the greatest risks to biodiversity stem from land
use change, with the consequent reduction, fragmentation and even loss of
habitats. Land use change has often been unregulated and lacked environmental
  UNEP, 2010. “GEO 2009 Environment Outlook of Latin America and the Caribbean”
  United Nations, 2010. “Millennium Development Goals: Advances in the Environmental Sustainability
Development in Latin America and the Caribbean”, Santiago, Chile.
Page 4

criteria. Large tracts of tropical forests (wet and dry) and temperate forest have
been, and are being, converted to the extent that in Latin America and the
Caribbean many species are in danger of extinction.

II.   Biodiversity  related   Multilateral Environmental             Agreements:
challenges towards their synergetic implementation
8. International concern for the conservation of biodiversity and habitats has been
expressed for decades. In 1971, the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands of
International Importance (Ramsar Convention) codified international concern at the
increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitats for migratory waterbirds. Just
two years later, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was adopted in an effort to meet concerns over the
international trade in biodiversity that threatened the very survival of some wild
animals and plants. In 1979, greater recognition of the importance of wildlife
habitats and the need to conserve migratory species throughout their range led to
the adoption of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild
Animals, thereby affirming the need for strict protection of the most endangered
9. Subsequently, in 1992, the importance of biodiversity was given a further
significant boost with the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The
Convention, as an integrative concept, knits together all forms of life – from genes
to species to ecosystems – that produce the world’s priceless ecological
infrastructure and provide vital services.
10. These four conventions, along with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic
Resources for Food and Agriculture and the Convention Concerning the Protection
of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention), make up
the cluster of global biodiversity conventions.
11. As detailed in several assessments on the need for synergies (including the
report of the Joint Inspection Unit on environmental governance7 and the work of
the Environment Management Group on synergies between biodiversity-related
multilateral environmental agreements) options to work on synergies between
biodiversity related conventions exist and are issue-based and thematically linked.
The new global biodiversity targets currently being discussed also provide a good
opportunity to identify further options for greater synergies.
12. The region is characterized by a high level of adoption and ratification of
Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), including those on biodiversity
mentioned above. However, implementation of and compliance with the
commitments adopted in MEAs and decisions of their COPs still remains a challenge,
which demands institutional and operative coordination at the national level. Many
of our countries have shown interest on and supported diverse initiatives towards
the identification of synergies between the MEAs as a way to facilitate national
implementation and fulfillment of the ultimate MEAs objectives.

                                                                                Page 5

III.    The Economics of ecosystems and biodiversity (“TEEB”)
13. In 2008 UNEP, together with connoted economists, proposed the Green
Economy Initiative (GEI), in order to promote a comprehensive plan for a “green”
global revolution that encourages investments in a new generation of assets such
as ecosystems, renewable energies, services and products from the biological
diversity. These investments point out to improving people´s incomes, creating
decent jobs, and reducing poverty. The idea behind this initiative is that an
adequate combination of actions and policies that stimulate the economic growth
can, at the same time, improve the environmental sustainability of the world
14. On the one hand, schemes such as “the payment for ecosystem services” (for
example, the maintenance of a forest to provide water or reforesting degraded
areas to capture the atmospheric CO2) are initiatives that contributes to the
creation of green jobs and enable income diversification in rural population in a way
that preserves and takes care of these services. Countries like Colombia, Costa
Rica, and Nicaragua that promoted silvopastoral practices to conserve forests, have
identified that farmers’ income can rise by 10–15 percent through these schemes.
Examples like this suggest that a global shift toward a new economic model could
generate very large numbers of jobs and contribute to better social equity9.
15. On the other hand, according to an analysis by the global initiative of The
Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity (TEEB), promoted by UNEP and other
partners, the global economic losses from environmental degradation are
notoriously high, between 2 - 4 trillion US$ per year. This initiative also
demonstrates that investing $45 billion in protected areas could secure vital nature-
based services worth some $5 trillion a year, including the sequestration of carbon,
the protection and enhancement of water resources and protection against
flooding10. For example, coastal ecosystem services are worth an estimated
$25,000 billion annually. Together with coral reefs, they supply an estimated 50 per
cent of the world’s fisheries, providing nutrition to close to 3 billion people, as well
as 50 per cent of animal protein and minerals to 400 million people in developing
nations11. Those are “big numbers” and demonstrate the significant relevance of
biodiversity and ecosystems for human development.
16. Three TEEB reports have since been released: TEEB – An Interim Report, in
May 2008; TEEB Climate Issues Update, in September 2009; and TEEB – The
Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for National and International Policy
Makers, in November 2009, and the final report will be released at the CBD´s Tenth
Meeting of Conference of the Parties (COP10) in October 2010. The study seeks to
show that economics acts as a powerful instrument in policymaking for biodiversity
and ecosystems through supporting decision-making processes and facilitating
dialogue that takes into account science, economics and governing structures.

  The Green Economy Initiative,
  UNEP, 2008. “Green jobs: towards decent work in a sustainable, low-carbon world”. Nairobi, Kenya
   TEEB, 2009. “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for national and international Policy Makers”.
European Commission, Brussels
   Nellemann, C., Corcoran, E., Duarte, C. M., Valdés, L., De Young, C., Fonseca, L., Grimsditch, G. (Eds). 2009.
“Blue Carbon. A Rapid Response Assessment.” United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal
Page 6

17. In short, the world faces significant risks if the issues of biodiversity loss and
ecosystem service degradation are not tackled and if there is no recognition of the
value of what is being lost. There is a need to change tack regarding this valuable
natural capital. It will require tremendous effort and international cooperation, but
the existing evidence shows that it will undoubtedly be worthwhile. Powerful
linkages and synergies are likely also to be enhanced by closer engagement of
Governments and civil society with the private sector. This will be needed to drive
the changes required to build a genuine green economy. The scheduled outputs of
studies and the growing energies behind new entrepreneurial initiatives present
clear opportunities to bolster these important relationships.
18. At a regional level, UNDP and UNEP, with the support of other organizations
such as ECLAC, are coordinating an initiative entitled “Biodiversity and Ecosystems:
Why these are Important for Sustained Growth and Equity in Latin America and the
Caribbean”. This initiative is engaging with key political and economic leaders of the
region to inform policy and decision makers of the need to incorporate biodiversity
and ecosystem services into national strategies, highlighting its role in development
and equity. This regional initiative is working on a report to be launched later this
year presenting concrete financial and economic benefits and costs from sustainable
ecosystem management. The Report will assess the contribution of biodiversity and
ecosystems to sectoral production and outputs to determine their economic value
and role in promoting growth and equity in the Latin America and the Caribbean
19. Finally, it is worth highlighting the significant relevance of the preservation and
sustainable use of ecosystems and biodiversity to promote the transition towards a
green economy. Measures that promote this shift not only lay a foundation for
further stimulation of this new and promising economic model, but also can help to
address the needs of the rural poor who are particularly reliant on the sound
functioning of local and regional ecosystems.

IV. International Year of Biodiversity
20. The United Nations has designated 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity
(IYB), thus bringing the subject into greater focus. This is merited given
biodiversity´s key role in human well-being, sustainable development and poverty
eradication; how biodiversity links these goals should receive greater attention.
21. As the IYB, 2010 will be a year of events targeted at raising global awareness
of the role of biodiversity within the context of ecosystem functioning and service
delivery. This is a unique opportunity for all relevant stakeholders not only to raise
awareness of the role and relevance of biodiversity in securing human livelihoods
and well-being, but also to portray it as a viable, long-term, sustainable option to
boost countries’ economic well-being. The International Year of Biodiversity
presents as well an important opportunity for global agreement on an ambitious
and meaningful set of post-2010 goals and targets.

22. In our region, the most megadiverse in the world, the IYB represents a great
occasion to call the attention of leaders and raise public awareness towards the
                                                                                    Page 7

promotion of actions at national, regional and international levels, to tackle
biodiversity loss. It will help to bring attention to the fact that this is something that
goes beyond the scope of the environment and that requires collective action at the
highest political level to conserve and use biodiversity sustainably while reducing
the pressures on ecosystems.

V. Post 2010 Biodiversity targets
23. The number of contracting parties to the various MEAs has risen over the past
30 years, as countries have increasingly committed themselves to a variety of
actions to conserve biodiversity. More than three decades of international and
national recognition of the importance of biodiversity notwithstanding, there
remains a struggle to protect adequately the very essence of life.
24. It is generally agreed that the target to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by
201012 has not been met. Furthermore, the international community is working to
identify new global biodiversity goals and targets and ensure that they are not only
responsive to emerging challenges but are also simple, measurable and understood
by all relevant sectors, such that a common agenda for action can be developed.
In October 2010, the COP10 to the Convention on Biological will review the 2010
biodiversity target and is expected to adopt a new strategic plan with a post-2010
biodiversity target and framework.
25. The debate at the regional level could contribute to the global decision and
promote to redouble efforts to conserve biodiversity. It will be crucial for baselines
and well-articulated targets to be clearly defined using agreed metrics. An agreed
set of indicators will then enable the monitoring of progress and the early
adjustment of key policies and actions based on assessment of achievements along
the way. This work could be greatly assisted through improved access to and
sharing of existing biodiversity-relevant data and information, making it more
readily and openly available to a wider community of users, including policymakers.

VI. Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing
26. Discussions on the finalization of an access and benefit-sharing international
regime under the CBD are under way, with the final negotiating meeting taking
place in March 2010 in Cali, Colombia. The nature of and issues pertaining to
benefit-sharing, the roles and responsibilities of provider and user countries and
compliance elements remain under discussion. The outcomes of these very complex
negotiations will be transmitted to the COP10 and will be a significant part of its
27. At the ABS regional consultation held in Panama last January, LAC countries
presented a document of common understandings concerning the main components
of the protocol on access and benefit sharing. This document recognizes that ABS is
a crucial issue for the region and that it is essential to join efforts of developing

  Decision CBD COP VI/ 26: “To achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at
the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth.”
Page 8

countries in an alliance that contributes to the effective adoption and
implementation of the ABS regime. Countries reaffirmed their position in favor of a
legally binding International Regime, comprehensive and integral, allowing the full
implementation of the third objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity once
the Protocol is adopted by the 10th Conference of the Parties. They also reaffirmed
that the core issue of the Protocol is to ensure compliance in user countries of
legislation and national requirements. The importance of respecting the rights of
indigenous and local communities over their traditional knowledge associated to
genetic resources, and ensuring their participation in the benefits resulting from its
use, was also underlined13.
28. Our region is the world´s richest genetic reservoir for which our ecosystems are
vital as sources of new useful traits in food crops, active components for
pharmaceutical products, potential industrial (chemical) applications, and useful
genes and their corresponding functions. Therefore, active participation in the
design of the regime is crucial to ensure that the interests of the region are
properly addressed. At the same time, the future regime will pose many
implementation challenges at the domestic level which will require regional and
subregional cooperation.

VII. Climate Change, Biodiversity and ecosystem services
29. Changes in the global climate and biodiversity are closely linked. While climate
change is a significant driver of biodiversity loss, healthy biodiversity and resilient
ecosystems provide a natural means to adapt to climate change.
30. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its fourth assessment
report, released in 2007, made several groundbreaking findings. It estimated
significant losses in global biodiversity, with regional impacts even higher. Many
ecosystem services were also projected to be lost, including disease and storm
regulation; water availability and hydropower potential; food production and
31. The concept of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation
(REDD) is swiftly developing and could contribute to preserve our forests and
maintain their ability to regulate carbon. In addition to the mitigating effects of
REDD, what is known as “REDD-plus” takes the mechanism one step further and
looks at some other aspects, including the sustainable management of forests and
enhancing forest cover. The concept will therefore improve livelihoods, biodiversity
conservation and ecosystem resilience.        Undoubtedly this concept and its
implementation are of great importance to the LAC region, which faces the highest
deforestation in the world.
32. Due to the high vulnerability of Latin America and the Caribbean region,
ecosystem-based adaptation mechanisms and REDD would support countries of the
region to build essential linkages and greater synergies between the needs to
safeguard biodiversity and to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

  UNEP/LAC-IGWG.XVII/Ref.7. “Final report of the Access and Benefit-Sharing Regional Consultations for Latin
America and Caribbean Countries”. Panama City, Panama. 15th and 16th January 2010
                                                                          Page 9

Such efforts will include steps to meet the need to provide functional approaches to
improving the flow of resources to those people whose lives are most closely
affected by both climate change and biodiversity loss and whose futures stand to be
most significantly improved through such efforts.

VIII. Science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services
33. Awareness of biodiversity as a multifaceted issue requiring scientific knowledge
on the links between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being has
increased significantly since the completion of the Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment. Countries recognize the need to improve the ways in which science on
biodiversity and ecosystem services was used to inform policymaking through
Decision IX/15 of the COP to the CBD, welcoming UNEP´s initiative to convene an
ad hoc open-ended intergovernmental multi-stakeholder meeting to consider
establishing an efficient science-policy interface on biodiversity, ecosystem services
and human well-being.
34. Consequently, two ad hoc intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meetings
had taken place (Malaysia, November 2008 and Nairobi, November 2009) and the
Nusa Dua Declaration was adopted with the commitment of finalize deliberations in
2010. In accordance with the decision adopted by UNEP Governing Council during
its 11th Special Session, the third and final meeting to negotiate and reach
agreement on whether to establish an intergovernmental science-policy platform on
biodiversity and ecosystem services will take place next June14.
35. During the discussions, there was a strong support for a new intergovernmental
mechanism to strengthen the science-policy interface on biodiversity and
ecosystem services and it was noted that such a mechanism should provide
credible, legitimate and relevant scientific information on biodiversity and
ecosystem services that was policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive. The
importance of ensuring the scientific independence of a new intergovernmental
mechanism by having its governance structure separate from, but supportive of
and complementary to, the governance structures and subsidiary bodies of relevant
multilateral environmental agreements and United Nations bodies, was also
36. The need to strengthen the generation of knowledge at the national, regional
and global levels and the importance of capacity building for the generation,
assessment and use of knowledge at various levels was recognized, and is a
relevant issue for the LAC region. Capacity building for scientists, policymakers and
members of civil society, including local communities, should be catalysed to enable
them to participate more effectively in the science-policy interface and to increase
the participation of scientists from the least developing countries15.

  UNEP/LAC-IGWG.XVII/Ref.9 “Nusa Dua Declaration and Governing Council Decisions adopted by the Governing
Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum at its eleventh special session. Advance copy”.
Page 10

IX. Some questions to stimulate debate
37. While it is entirely a matter for ministers to decide, a number of questions are
suggested to help to stimulate the ministerial discussions:
a)   How can our region be better prepared to promote, facilitate and implement
agreements that include:
      i)   An ambitious but meaningful goal to halt biodiversity loss that will be
      supported by a set of targets and indicators for the post-2010 era?
      ii)   Components on access and benefit-sharing which benefits the region
      as a provider of genetic resources and maximize its potential as a user of
      those resources?
      iii)  Appropriate avenues to enhance funding, capacities and awareness
      throughout society to attain the collective goal of a world that is equitable,
      responsive and progressive?
b)     What steps need to be put in place and what support is necessary to fund
effective implementation of the multilateral environmental agreements related to
c)    How does our region further support the science-policy interface to address
the gaps and needs identified through the current intergovernmental process?
d)     How does the region help build momentum for the UN Secretary-General’s
high-level meeting on 20 September 2010 in New York and the meeting of the
Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2010 in
e)     Does the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012, provide an opportunity for the Governments of
the region to agree on the specific steps and policies required to achieve a green
economic future, in a manner that brings about change to how natural capital is