Brazil’s Minister of Environment, Izabella Teixeira, delivered a statement to the COP10 Convention on Biological Diversity yesterday, highlighting Brazil’s positions and priorities for the remainder of the negotiations in Nagoya, Japan.  Minister Teixeira’s statement came on the first day of the High-Level Ministerial Segment of COP10. The statement is a powerful one and something I thought was worth sharing on Ecolocalizer, so I’m including it in full here.

Tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-10/CBD)
Open-Ended Informal Ministerial Consultation
Nagoya, Japan, 27 October 2010

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to attend the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity for the first time. I have great optimism and great expectations about this Conference, but, I have to admit, I also have fears that, like in Copenhagen, the international community might get frustrated with the lack of commitment and understanding around such vital issues for the planet and its populations. That is why I came here with all enthusiasm, responsibility, flexibility and honesty to listen, to talk, to negotiate and to take decisions which are suitable to all countries. This is the same spirit I expect to find with you all here.

The time for talking is over. It is time for providing answers, solutions, actions. We are all tired of endless meetings which just postpone the solutions for the problems. We are also tired of decisions which are dissociated from real life. While that happens, over the past few years, not only has there been an absence of relevant signs of reduction of biodiversity loss but also the available indicators portray a growing deterioration of global biodiversity. Reverting this process, which in essence is a result of human activity, requires an unprecedented effort, with strong and determined responses from all global societies. Essentially, political will is required to change the patterns of the way different segments of society appropriate biodiversity resources for themselves.

This is what I bring with me: good will, political will, so that we can forge here a pact to implement the CBD and build solid partnerships among the various sectors of society. We cannot, we do not have the right to lose this opportunity if we don’t want to increase the human, social, economic and environmental costs of biodiversity loss. If we don’t want to increase the lack of credibility of the multilateral system

In the last 10 days, we had time enough to see the differences that separate us. We have now only three days to see what unites us. In only three days, we will be looking at the decisions taken at the 10th Conference of the Parties of the CBD, in Nagoya. It is up to us to decide what kind of results we will be taking home. And with which face we will be looking at our children.

We have been negotiating a Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing which is fundamental to overcome the implementation deficit of the Convention and to combat biopiracy. We have been discussing a new Strategic Plan for the period post-2010, and a new Strategy for Resource Mobilization. A central part of our future efforts must include support for national agendas to reach targets on biodiversity, ensuring country ownership and supported by predictable, additional and sufficient resources and technology.

These three elements — the Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, the Strategic Plan and the new Strategy for Resource Mobilization — are part of an indivisible package for COP-10. They should be considered, discussed and negotiated with the attention and urgency that the matter deserves.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The multilateral system is based on consensus. And we all know how consensus can be difficult when so many different social, economic and environmental realities get together. We have then two choices: either sticking stubbornly to our points of view, trying to find the perfect agreement, and probably taking many more years for that, or, alternatively, trying to listen, to negotiate, to understand the other side’s perspectives, being flexible, and achieving an agreement which might not be perfect, but it is the possible agreement.

It is with this second spirit that Brazil came to Nagoya. There is momentum for us to achieve good results in Nagoya. All Ministers I talk to reassure their spirit of compromise and flexibility. If we lose this opportunity, in the search for the perfect deal, we will be giving signs that we don’t need a deal. We can’t give the world this message.

Being here, for me, is a great sacrifice at a moment when we are concluding President Lula’s administration after eight years in power and preparing the transition to a new government. But it is also a sign of the importance Brazil attaches to this Convention.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is necessary to keep our vision on the future, so that our children and our grandchildren can, as ourselves, be the beneficiaries of nature’s overwhelming wealth.

This is what I call our ethical responsibility to the future generations. However, this vision should be based on concrete actions and on political decisions that allow us to implement, presently, the objectives, decisions and agreements to which we have committed. Otherwise, the future will only be a recollection of our good intentions, not fulfilled.

There is no more time for rhetoric, for actions dissociated from the multilateral efforts or for us to continue the game of attributing to the neighbors the greatest responsibilities.  The impacts of our lack of action can increasingly be felt upon ourselves, not upon the future generations any longer. To act now is not only a matter of political will, it is also a question of responsibility, commitment, vision, ethics and survival.

Thank you very much!

Photo Credit: Elza Fiuza/ABr via Wikimedia user Missionary (CC license)