Third Expert Meeting for South-South Cooperation on Biodiversity for Development

Message by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of The 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Biological diversity underpins ecosystem functioning and is essential for human well-being. Because of this, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 needs to be a shared vision for all at Rio+20. This framework calls for a world where all people live in harmony with nature. It envisages that by 2050, “biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.”

As Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), I am pleased to inform you that preparations are well under way. In the coming months, country led initiatives and workshops hosted by the UN family of organizations will address topics related to the Rio + 20 themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

The preparatory process has indicated that a number of developed and developing countries are already pursuing green growth strategies. But we need to ask ourselves whether the inter-linkages between biological diversity and green economy have been fully realized. Is biodiversity adequately placed at the core of green growth strategies?

A key message emerging from the Rio +20 preparatory process is that a bottom-up approach, which responds to national and local priorities, is a necessary component of a green economy. In recent years, developing countries have rapidly accumulated knowledge, experience and expertise on biodiversity. This highlights the important role of the bottom up approach when considering the role of biodiversity in a green economy.

The Multi-year Plan of Action of South-South Cooperation on Biodiversity for Development is very pertinent to the Rio+20 themes, including on the institutional framework for sustainable development. This Plan of Action is important for implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi targets, as well as in guiding our collective response to assist developing countries on the path to sustainable development.

DESA is ready to support the CBD in advancing the outcomes of this meeting, in taking advantage of opportunities that Rio+20 may provide as part of the Roadmap towards COP-11, and in facilitating the adoption of the Plan by all Parties.

Thank you and I wish this meeting great success.