UN Conference on Biological Diversity

\UNIn a report launched at the COP 9 Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in Bonn, Friends of the Earth (FoE) has criticised the Australian government for the ongoing logging of Australia’s native forests, causing widespread loss of biodiversity, despite being a signatory to the Convention.

MEDIA RELEASE

19 May 2008

The Australian Government has come under fire by environment groups at the UN Conference on Biological Diversity in Germany today, for its failure to implement international commitments on forest biodiversity protection.

In a report launched at the COP 9 Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in Bonn, Friends of the Earth (FoE) has criticised the Australian government for the ongoing logging of Australia’s native forests, causing widespread loss of biodiversity, despite being a signatory to the Convention.

The Australian report is part of a study by the Global Forest Coalition in 22 countries internationally to examine whether or not Parties are implementing the decisions made through the CBD Programme of Work of Forest Biological Diversity.

“Australia has a Federal Government that is vocal about biodiversity protection and the climate change crisis at the international level, while actively condoning widespread forest destruction at home,” said FoE spokesperson, Lauren Caulfield.

“The Convention commits Australia to biodiversity and forest protection measures, while current logging and woodchipping practices fly in the face of these targets”

Currently about 9 million cubic metres of logs are taken from Australia’s available native forests each year. More than seventy five percent of this ends up as pulp-logs.

“The loss of forests is having a devastating effect on our unique biodiversity. More than 110 forest-dependent vertebrate wildlife species are listed as threatened species.”

“We are calling on the Federal Government to meet its international commitments to implement the forest biodiversity protection measures under the Convention, and ensure that Australia’s old growth forests, water catchments and threatened species habitat are protected” said Ms Caulfield.

The expanded Programme of Work on Forest Biodiversity provides Parties to the CBD targets to achieve the biodiversity conservation goals enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals which mandate United Nations members to "reverse the loss of environmental resources."

 

For more information please contact:

Lauren Caulfield: 00 11 49 176 771 87583 (Bonn mobile)

Sarah Rees, The Central Highlands Alliance: 0438 368 870

Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth Australia: 0419 338 047

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MEDIA ADVISORY
Friends of the Earth International

May 22, 2008

DEFORESTATION THREATENS BIODIVERSITY EFFORTS

BONN (GERMANY), May 22, 2008 – The continuing failure to prevent catastrophic deforestation is hampering global efforts to reverse the loss of biodiversity and has become a major threat to forest-dependent people, warned Friends of the Earth International on 'International Biodiversity Day', 22 May.

The warning was made during a May 19-30 United Nations meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Bonn gathering, attended by delegates from 191 countries, aims to find ways to meet a globally agreed target for reversing the loss of biodiversity.

“The destruction of forests and the consequent erosion of biodiversity severely impact millions of forest-dependent people. But it also affects global food security and accelerates climate change,” according to Belmond Tchoumba, co-coordinator of the Forest and Biodiversity Programme of Friends of the Earth International.

“Governments must let local communities and Indigenous Peoples who depend on forests manage their forests, rather than evicting them and selling off the forests,“ added the Cameroonian activist.

According to Friends of the Earth International the Bonn conference participants should take immediate action to stop the deforestation of prime forests, to the destructive illegal logging and to the trade of illegally derived forest products.

They should also oppose false solutions such as damaging monoculture tree plantations and genetically engineered (GE) trees. GE trees are as damaging as other monocultures, but they also pose a specific threat to the genetic diversity of trees.

"Genetically engineered trees know no borders: once planted, they contaminate large areas," according to Hubert Weiger, President of BUND / Friends of the Earth Germany. "Planting GE trees flies in the face of the precautionary approach of the Convention on Biological Diversity. GE trees should be strongly and urgently opposed by this UN Convention and by all
national governments," he added.

“Forest-dependent local communities and Indigenous Peoples around the world know how to conserve and restore forests. Their community-based activities are successfully geared towards sustainable forest use,” said Isaac Rojas, co-coordinator of the Forest and Biodiversity Programme of Friends of the Earth International.

"Community forest management not only ensures the conservation of biological diversity, it also ensures sustainable livelihoods for forest-dependent people,” added the Costa Rican activist.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Belmond Tchoumba, co-coordinator, Forest and Biodiversity Programme, (French and English): Tel: + 49 157 77128437 (German mobile valid until May 30)

Isaac Rojas, Forest and Biodiversity Programme (Spanish, French and English): email gavitza@racsa.co.cr

Hubert Weiger / Friedrich Wulf, BUND-Friends of the Earth Germany (German and English): Tel: +49 173-9234747 (German mobile)