United Nations, New York Headquarters, 3 February 2014
During a side meeting on Biodiversity, representatives from various countries shared their perspectives on the importance of a biologically diverse planet. The ambassador to Germany, Mr. Thoms, shared the perspective that our earth, ocean, forests, and mountains hold many peoples spirituality. They also are the source of our economic capital and to exploit it for the short term will only lead to our degradation and vulnerability as people in the long term.
India’s representative, Mr. Tyagi shared that overall, India’s percent of GDP from use of natural resources is 17%, but the poorest in the country receive 47% of their GDP from the environment. The poor in India, as in many other countries, rely more heavily on the environment than the population as a whole. Many other countries shared a similar concern, that with poverty eradication as a large part of the Post 2015 Development agenda, we must make a stand for biodiversity.
One solution to these problems was presented by Mr. Santos. Brazil has created a program called Bolsa Verde, translating roughly to green stipend. With the attention to social inclusion, sustainable resources, and poverty, Mr. Santos shared that the program goes to areas of extreme biodiversity loss and environmental degradation, provides stipends and training for people. The populations work on their land to bring back biodiversity and learn environmental conservation models of care.
Mr. Jumeau from the island Seychelles, spoke from the perspective of the small islands and developing world, “This is not just about conservation, it is in many cases the economic viability of our resilience as independent sovereign states.” Ms. Sendashonga, the facilitator, said although biodiversity is a no-brainer, we must come up with targets and actions to make this goal a future for humanity.
Meeting Title: Why Biodiversity is Essential for Social and Economic Aspects of Sustainable Development: Perspectives and Country Experiences from Developing and Developed Countries
Speakers: Mr. Katsuhiko Takahashi (Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan), Mr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias (Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity), Ms. Cyriaque Sendashonga (Global Director of IUCN), Ronald Jean Jumeau (Sychelles Ambassador for Climate Change and SIDS Issues), Mr. Jean-Francis R. Zinsou (Ambassador, PR of the Permanent Mission of Benin to the UN), Mr. Heiko Thoms (Ambassador to Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN), Mr. Ajay Tyagi (Joint Secretary to the Govn’t of India in the Ministry of Environment and Forests), Mr. Sergio Rodrigues dos Santos (Minister-Counsellor, Brazilian Mission to the UN), Mr. Jechul Yoo ( Director General, Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea)
Written by WIT Representative: Stephanie Harris