24 February 2011
Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference by Mexico on Signature of Biodiversity Convention


Mexico’s signature of the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity was not only a demonstration of its commitment to biodiversity protection, but also of the importance of signing for the country itself and the world, Environment Minister Juan Rafael Elvira said at a Headquarters press conference today.


Speaking after the signature, Mr. Elvira urged other nations to do the same, saying the Protocol represented an important international achievement in favour of the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, since no single country had previously been able, on its own, to protect its entire biological diversity.


“So, for this reason, we need to work with the Nagoya Protocol,” the Minister said, adding that today’s signature would enhance his country’s efforts to develop a stronger national biodiversity agenda.  Mexico would continue to work as a bridge between the countries of the East and West, as well as those of the North and South, as it had done while hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun last December.  It would try to understand the concerns of all the world’s peoples with regard to biodiversity, he added.


Accompanying Mr. Elvira was Nandhini Krishna, Liaison Officer for the New York Office of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, who hailed Mexico as one of the first countries to sign the Protocol.  Formally known as the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, it represents the third of the Convention’s three objectives, the other two being conservation and sustainable use.


She said it had been long recognized that meaningful realization of the first two objectives required access to genetic resources as well as the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use.  The Protocol itself had been under negotiation for well over six years, finally being adopted at the Tenth Conference of Parties to the Biodiversity Convention, held in Nagoya, Japan, last October.


Noting Mexico’s traditional leadership role on environmental issues, particularly biodiversity, Ms. Krishna said its early signature was a tribute to the important part the country had played in negotiating the Protocol, without which it would not have been finalized and adopted.  Mexico’s signature had “tremendous” symbolic significance, she added, noting that as a “mega-diverse” country, its action would serve as a “very significant catalyst” in encouraging others to sign early, thereby advancing its entry into force.  It was to be hoped that Mexico’s example would pave the way for that to happen before the next Conference of Parties, scheduled for October 2012 in India.


Also attending the press conference were José Sarukhán of Mexico’s National Commission for Biodiversity and Luis Fueyo of the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas.


Colombia became the first country to sign the Protocol on 2 February, and was quickly followed, the same day, by Yemen, Brazil and Algeria.  The Protocol remains open within the Secretary-General’s office until 1 February 2012.


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For information media • not an official record