Japanese NGO Coalition Urges Obama and US Senate to Ratify UN Biodiversity Treaty

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America remains only holdout nation on the eve of Nagoya's momentous COP10 biodiversity conference that will dramatically affect the lives of billions and the environmental future of the world.

The Japan Civil Network for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) representing over ninety environmental groups and hundreds of thousands of members has sent a formal letter of appeal to President Obama and all members of the US Senate urging the United States to join all the world's other nations and finally ratify the critical CBD treaty*.

Their appeal highlights the following facts:
1) human and corporate activity is killing off so many species so quickly scientists are now calling our era the planet's Sixth Great Extinction Event;
2) the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) grew out of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to address this crisis and was greatly inspired and supported by the US at the time;
3) as the only global treaty targeting this unprecedented emergency, the CBD is the last hope for thousands of species and ecosystems worldwide;
4) 193 countries have ratified the CBD treaty and the US is the only nation that has not;
5) President Clinton signed the CBD in 1993 and it was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1994 with broad bipartisan support, but the Senate never voted on it and it has languished ever since;
6) it is not just America's reputation for environmental leadership that is at stake, the lives of millions of the poor and vast ecosystems like the rainforests and oceans are also now at risk.

Prof. Kinhide Mushakoji, former UN University Vice Rector and CBD Civil Network senior adviser, observes, "The vast environmental and social dimensions of the biodiversity emergency require the involvement and commitment of all the world's governments. The United States played a vital role in the creation of the CBD and we now ask them to renew that leadership."

The Japan CBD Civil Network thus joins a broad coalition of US environmental NGOs**, the Senate International Conservation Caucus Foundation, and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity Edward Norton*** urgently calling for belated CDB ratification to help resolve the most ominous threats now facing the biosphere.

According to CBD Civil Network US liaison and COP10.org administrator, W. David Kubiak, "The Japanese appeal coincides with the opening of COP10, the 10th Conference of Parties to the CBD, in Nagoya, Japan where nearly 14,000 delegates are now gathering to renegotiate the treaty and set new goals for 2020.

"Although few Americans have heard of COP10, many observers believe it may be the most important environmental conference the world has ever seen in terms of scope, potential impact, and repercussions for future eco-treaty legislation."

Scope: The CBD's unprecedented purview includes the entire web of life, climatic health and sustainable economics as well as the future of medicine, agriculture and indigenous rights. No other eco-gathering has ever had more life and death issues on the table all at once.

Impact: COP10's accomplishments or lack thereof will affect every major ecosystem in the biosphere and the lives of billions of the poor. These are not distant Seventh Generation impacts. COP10 actions or omissions will determine fateful changes in the next 10 to 20 years.

Treaty implications: After the collapse of the Copenhagen climate talks last December and the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) debacle in Doha this spring, the relevance, efficacy and thus legitimacy of global treaty efforts are facing their third strike.

Kubiak adds, "It is not just species and ecosystems facing danger at COP10; if this conference also fails, the entire future of the UN treaty process is deeply imperiled as well."

*See full text of their letter here: http://cop10.org/us-cbd-news/217-cbd-network-us-ratification-appeal

**American Rivers, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for International Environmental Law, Conservation International, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, Friends of the Earth, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Wilderness Society, Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund. See their 2009 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here: http://cop10.org/us-cbd-news/180-us-ngo-cbd-letter

*** See Ambassador Norton's letter here: http://cop10.org/us-cbd-news/214-edward-norton-on-us-cbd-ratification

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Susumu Takayama (Japanese)

W. David Kubiak (English)
COP10.org
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