Press Conference by Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity

21 September 2010

Press Conference by Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity

21 September 2010
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference by Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity


At a Headquarters press conference today, members of the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity introduced an honorary ambassador to correspondents and announced the winners of the Midori Prize for Biodiversity.

Translated from Japanese, midori means “green”, and invokes the image of trees and plants.  The term represents the environment and links to biodiversity, the totality of genes, species and ecosystems.  The prize, sponsored by the AEON Environmental Foundation, honours individuals who have made outstanding contributions that have influenced various efforts related to biodiversity, and raised people’s awareness about the subject.

Today’s press conference was also intended to build momentum for the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10), which will be held in Nagoya, Japan, from 18 to 29 October 2010.  Also, for the first time, Heads of State would gather at United Nations Headquarters tomorrow, 22 September, to discuss biodiversity during high-level talks meant to restore the issue of biodiversity on the agenda of the international community during this United Nations International Year of Biodiversity, said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention.

Joining him at the press conference was Ryu Matsumoto, Minister of the Environment of Japan, who said it was a “great honour” for his country to host the COP 10, where he anticipated serious discussions on setting new global targets in the field.  “I feel a deep responsibility for this conference.  At COP 10 it is important to create an opportunity to motivate people.”

The Minister noted that there were certain disagreements among countries on important issues, such as access and benefit sharing, known as “ABS”.  As a host country, Japan would spare no effort to assist the discussions in Nagoya, he added.

The Midori prizes of $300,000 for work towards preserving biodiversity would be awarded on October 27 in Nagoya, during the COP Conference.  The three winners were:  Jean Lemire of Canada, a biologist, explorer and filmmaker, whose documentaries have educated the public and students around the world; Dr. Gretchen C. Daily, an American-based professor from Stanford University, who has discovered the economic costs of environmental destruction caused by humans; and Emil Salim of Indonesia, Chairman of the Advisory Council to the President of Indonesia, and former Minister of State for Population and the Environment.  Dr. Salim has been a leader in Indonesian environmental policy and implementation and in aiding environmental non-governmental organizations.

Also drawing attention to the issue of biodiversity at today’s briefing was Japanese pop singer Misia, who had been appointed in March by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as an Honorary Ambassador to the COP 10.  Misia is best known for her song “Everything”, which has sold almost 2 million copies.  In honour of biodiversity, she released a song called “Life in Harmony”.

Misia said that serving as Honorary Ambassador had been “an amazing experience for me” and that she had had a great chance to learn the importance of biodiversity.  She mentioned two Japanese characters of the Kanji alphabet, which spell the word “song”.  One character symbolizes good harvesting and possibility, and the second is a shape of a man kneeling and praying to God.  “It represents that humans and nature have long been intertwined, with humans and nature walking closely.  We can create a better world for everyone.”

She added that she was confident that the meeting in Nagoya would be successful, and expressed certainty that awareness and knowledge would be “planted” in the hearts of everyone.  “We have to walk hand-in-hand to bring harmony to our world.”

Takuya Okada, Chairman of the AEON Environmental Foundation, also present at the briefing, recalled a bit of prophecy when he said:  “Some time ago, I envisioned the twenty-first century would be the century of environment.”

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.