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Cheers for Africa, jeers for Canada at biodiversity conference

Thursday October 18, 2012 05:35:04 PM, Richa Sharma, IANS

Hyderabad: The African Union got the thumbs up for their pro-active role in biodiversity conservation at the ongoing UN biodiversity conference and was selected for the "Busy Bee Award" 2012 while Canada was slammed and given the "Dodo Award" for contributing to biodiversity loss.

The awards given by the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN), a network of youth working for biodiversity conservation, and the CBD (Convention on Biodiversity) Alliance is a way to recognise good work and slam poor work by governments participating in the negotiations at the eleventh conference of biodiversity.

The network has started the two awards -- the Dodo for countries hampering work towards biodiversity conservation and Busy Bee for countries taking progressive action. Group members, dressed up as a dodo and a bee gave the awards - a citation - to a volunteer from the winner country among the audience.

Canada was also the winner of the Dodo award at the 2010 conference in Japan.

Helena Paul of EcoNexus said Canada was chosen for its strong stance on biofuels and carrying ocean fertilization experiment.

"Canada insisted that the CBD is not a place to discuss food security, and so the impact of biofuel expansion on food should not be considered," she said.

The dodo bird, which once lived on the island of Mauritius, was hunted to extinction in the late 1600s, and the CBD Alliance worries that countries preventing a strong agreement from being reached at COP11 will result in driving many species to extinction.

Britain was the other winner of the Dodo Award, chosen by consensus within the CBD Alliance members. Runners up included China, Brazil and Paraguay.

"The UK is busy behind the scenes blocking attempts in the European Union and the CBD to adopt a precautionary approach to synthetic biology," Paul said.

The CBD Alliance is a network of activists and representatives from NGOs, community-based organizations (CBOs), social movements and Indigenous Peoples' Organizations (IPOs) advocating improved and informed participation in CBD processes.

With the "Busy Bee" award, the alliance wants to acknowledge the players that are showing progressive action within the CBD negotiations.

"We want to motivate the winners to continue their supportive behaviour and inspire other parties to contribute constructively as well. The award goes to African Group for their contribution in the negotiations of resource mobilization," said Melina Sakiyama, member of GYBN.

The GYBN, representing 500 youths from over 40 countries, aims to represent the voice of global youth in CBD processes, raise awareness among young people of the values of biodiversity and connect individuals and youth organisations in order to build a global coalition to halt the loss of biodiversity.






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