NEW YORK, USA, September 22, 2010 – Heads of State discussing ways to save biodiversity today at the United Nations General Assembly in New York must commit to taking firm and immediate steps to halt the alarming biodiversity loss worldwide, said Friends of the Earth International.

The High Level meeting of the UN General Assembly will address the very serious issue of biodiversity loss, and Heads of State are expected to address their failure to meet the 2010 goals and targets that they had agreed on under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Valuing biodiversity and related ‘ecosystem services’ is expected to be a key issue at the UN meeting. According to Friends of the Earth International, existing financial incentives mostly harm biodiversity conservation instead of supporting it, as they should. Biodiversity conservation must be supported but biodiversity should not have a ‘price tag’ nor become ‘for sale’, warns Friends of the Earth International.

“The debate on biodiversity should not be reduced to just the economic benefits brought by biodiversity. The UN needs to discuss how to strengthen local communities´ and Indigenous Peoples initiatives that have contributed to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and to the construction of a fairer and sustainable world. To continue discussing only about the economic benefits of ecosystem services means to follow the path of privatization that benefits transnational corporations instead of local communities and Indigenous Peoples,” said Isaac Rojas, the coordinator for Friends of the Earth International’s program on Forests and Biodiversity.

“Governments need to acknowledge that market-based mechanisms and the commodification of biodiversity have failed both biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation,” added Rojas.

The United Nations General Assembly will discuss how to better implement biodiversity conservation, developing outcome-based, measurable and ambitious targets within the framework of a new strategic plan on biodiversity, and how to ensure that more resources will be available to implement the plan.

The United Nations General Assembly is also expected to ask for more recognition of biodiversity and the CBD in the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC).

“Biodiversity is the basis of our life. To preserve this valuable treasure for our children, we need Heads of State to acknowledge this, and credibly commit themselves to solving these issues,” said Friedrich Wulf, Friends of the Earth Europe’s biodiversity campaigner.

The next Conference of the Parties to the biodiversity convention will be held in Japan in October.

Friends of the Earth International says that so far the expectations for the October meeting are very low. It seems unlikely that it will make substantial progress towards ensuring fair and sustainable solutions to biodiversity loss, or towards ensuring support for the communities that depend on it.



In the Americas:

Isaac Rojas, coordinator of the Friends of the Earth International’s program on Forests & Biodiversity or Tel: + 598 2604 2840 or + 598 9962 1591 (Uruguay mobile)

In Europe:

Friedrich Wulf, Friends of the Earth Europe´s international biodiversity campaigner or Tel: +41 613 179 242 or +49 176 853 22510 (Germany mobile)

Information on FoEI´s work on biodiversity available at:

Information on the next meeting of the United Nations is available at: