nature in one world
All roads lead to Bangkok for the 3rd World
Conservation Congress with the theme: 'People and Nature - Only One
The congress which will run from November 17
to 25 will be attended by over 3,500 delegates and will be graced by Her
Majesty Queen Sirikit, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Her Royal Highness Princess
Chulabhorn, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and IUCN President Yolanda
Hosted by the IUCN-World Conservation Union
which was founded in 1948, the agenda will include everything that will have
an impact to our planet and people. Issues on climate change, conservation
of mountains, oceans and river system, water, air, the Basel Convention on
Toxic trade, war and the environment, poverty, eradication, species
consumption patterns, human population, dynamics, poverty and inequality,
forests, world heritage sites and protected areas, eco systems, sustainable
livelihood, indigenous people rights, coral reefs, fisheries, sustainable
organic agriculture, food and environmental security.
More than 114 motions have been filed and will
be debated by the delegates. These are controversial motions that need to be
debated and adopted to protect and conserve the planet.
Two of the most controversial issues that will
be debated with a strong lobby by the primary sector are about genetically
modified organisms and mining.
Another hot issue that will be discussed is
climate change and its effects to man and the environment.
IUCN councilor and Ecological Society of the
Philippines president Antonio M. Claparols stressed that the congress is
vital to the future of the planet and hopes that the conservation movement
will prevail over multinational companies on issues destroying the
environment. they must have the corporate responsibility to protect and
conserve the environment.
Claparols stressed that we cannot afford to
continue destroying our forests, oceans, ecosystems and species. We cannot
afford to continue our consumption patterns. For if we do then the planets
and our very own existence is at stake, he added.
One good development is the ratification of
the Kyoto Climate Change Protocol by Russia.
IN this context, Claparols calls on the
Philippines Senate to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible.
We call on the government to pursue programs
that will enhance biodiversity, increase agricultural produce, provide water
and sanitation and eradicate poverty, Claparols said.
Berlin sets the
THE BRANDENBURG Gate, national symbol
I Recently visited the great city of Berlin to
fulfill my promise to my late mother. Now i can truly say that I am a
Berliner at heart.
It was my first time in the City, but images of it have long been on my mind
- the Cold War, the Berlin Wall and its eventual collapse in 1989, after our
own people power revolution in 1986.
I so admired the Berliners’ progress in comparison to ours. And yet we won
our freedom earlier!
I stood at the Brandenburg Gate, a national symbol, near the Reichstag (the
Parliament), where there is a dome for the people to view their ministers at
work. (It’s a good practice for good governance and transparency that we can
walk the three-kilometer 17th of June street, where, I learned, the Victory
Column was moved by Adolf Hitler for the simple reason that he did not like
it because it represented the kings and their glory.
I strolled to the Unter den Linden (meaning, beneath the linden trees)
Avenue to the Alexanderplatz dedicated to Alexander I of Russia.
I visited the neo-Renaisance Berlin Cathedral and admired its beautiful
In 1817 King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia proclaimed the union of the
Lutheran and Reformed churches. The old Baroque cathedral then known as the
Kings Church became the united church for the two Protestant denominations,
and the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel went about its renovation.
Following Germany’s victory over France in 1871, Wilhelm III was
subsequently crowned the third and last German emperor. Under his direction
the cathedral was demolished to make room for a new and monumental
His architect, Julius Carl Raschdorff, designed the new cathedral, the
so-called “state and ceremonial house.”
THE BERLIN Cathedral, burial site of the Hohenzollerns
The Berlin Cathedral was intended to be the
central church for all Protestants of Prussia and Germany and the burial
grounds of the Hohenzollern dynasty.
The site is a majestic symbol of the old Berlin. Beside it is Europe’s
tallest edifice, the Deutsche telecommunication tower, a symbol of the New
The contrast is just as majestic as the transformation of the city after the
fall of the Wall in 1989.
I visited Checkpoint Charlie, which marked the then border of East and West
There are four dates that dominate the recent history of Berlin: 1871, when
the city was made the capital of the German Empire; 1945, when the Nazi
Reich was taken by the troops of the Red Army; 1961, specifically on Aug.
13, when in a single day the infamous Wall was built; and 1989, when the
Wall finally fell.
The big domestic issue in Berlin is the Schloss (Castle). The people like to
say that the Schloss is not in Berlin; it is Berlin.
It may not mean as much to other people, but to Berliners, it represents
their history and are proud of it.
The public transport system is one of the best in the world. They are
bicycle lanes, pedestrian lanes, the S-Bahn, the U-Bahn, and buses that will
take you anywhere.
The government’s goal is to have public transportation control 80 percent of
the traffic, and private cars, 20 percent. With this goal, the environment
will be well under control.
My visit to Berlin came at a time when rallies were being held to call
attention to two issues: the lower budget for education, and the
Environment appears to be a key issue worldwide. The whole world is
suffering from the effects of the War in Iraq, globalization, and the
destruction fo the environment. As i was writing this, southern France was
underwater and New England in the United States was being battered by storms
and other results of climatic changes. And yet the United States refuses to
sign the Kyoto Protocol!
I also read in the International Herald Tribune that well-known ski resorts
were suffering the lack of snow to operate, and that banks had stopped
extending loans to them.
My visit to Berlin and subsequent sojourn in Europe actually began in Gland,
Switzerland, where the IUCN World Conservation Union had its 59th meeting.
On the agenda were such environmental issues as the results of the 5th World
Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa; the Durban Accords and Action Plan;
the 3rd World Conservation Congress in Bangkok next November; and the
dialogue with the extractive industries, which had hogged the limelight in
the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
(The last issue was also the concern at the meeting of our own Philippine
Council for Sustainable Development in Manila, Where the National Policy on
minerals was the main point of the agenda. It is a controversial issue
marked by the many environmental problems plaguing our government, and is
actually part of its 8-point economic plan. The civil society groups in the
PCSD is against this national policy on minerals).
After Switzerland, i proceeded to Paris for visit to the Unesco office,
where we spoke about the future of the World Heritage sites in our country,
as well as that of the Comoe World Heritage site in the Ivory Coast.
And then on the Berlin, and the sterling example it sets in conserving the
The author is president of the Ecological Society of the Philippines and
regional councilor of the IUCN.
5th World Parks
Congress sets agenda
5th World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa officially closed recently,
leaving in its wake the Durban Accord. The Action Plan and recommendations
which more than 3,000 delegates are set to be accomplished when they return
to their respective countries.
The congress was highlighted by the presence
of some political luminaries including former South African President Nelson
Mandela who opened the congress and reiterated the need for a World Summit
for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty. Meanwhile, Queen
Noor of Jordan spoke one the vital role of protected areas and the
boundaries outside protected areas. She stressed that we are merely tenants
of the Earth, not its owners, so it is imperative that we leave it in its
South African President Thanbo Mbeki on the
other hand, said that the future of humankind can only be secured by the
real protection of declared areas for protection and that we must be
vigilant on the activities of industries extracting resources in these
Achim Steiner, International Union for the
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) director general, expressed his optimism as
3,000 delegates return to their home countries armed with the Durban Accord,
Action Plan and Recommendations as well as new knowledge.
Having been an active environmentalist,
Antonio M. Claparols, president of the Ecological Society of the
Philippines, and who is also the regional councilor of IUCN, one of the
delegate of non-governmental organizations from the Philippines, Claparols
reiterated his commitment to the 94 protected areas in the country. These
areas include Batanes, Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, Apo Reef, Mt.
Kanlaon, Agusan Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, among others.
As the congress closed, the future of the
marine environment was also stressed. The oceans cover 75 percent of the
Earth's surface and harbors over 94 percent of all life forms. Yet, only
less than one percent of the oceans are protected. The coral triangle, which
lies in Southeast Asia is the richest in marine biodiversity in the world
and is great danger.
We are blessed with having one of the riches
coral and marine biodiversity in the world and we must protect them,
With a decade to go in achieving the goals set
by the 5th World Park Congress, a combined effort of non-government and
governmental organizations can mitigate the wanton destruction of these
areas. But the action must be done now and avert future threats to our
dwindling biodiversity, Claparols added.
3rd World Water Forum Watered Down
is Strong Convergence and Weak Ministerial Declaration
Kyoto, Japan, 23 March 2003 (IUCN) –
IUCN – The World Conservation Union welcomes the demonstrations of progress
in water resources management at the 3rd World Water Forum, yet expresses
its concern with the outcomes of the Ministerial Conference: the Ministerial
Declaration. The Declaration falls short of the needed and expected strong
commitment to action. The technical debates at the Forum, which showed many
complementary approaches to improve management, contrast with the outcomes
of the ministerial meeting. “The Forum demonstrated convergence of ideas and
successful actions, and IUCN believes this to be a major step forward. The
ministerial meeting however did not follow suit. We need to rethink the way
these meetings are conducted”, says Dr. Ger Bergkamp, Head of the IUCN
Delegation. Forums such as the 3rd World Water Forum should ensure clear
linkages between the outputs of the technical meetings and the concluding
ministerial agreements or declaration
Our Safari to
Africa, from Rio to Johannesburg
AFRICA has always
intrigued me. It’s mystique of being wild and home of the Zulu nation.
Xhosa, Sotho, Venda, Pedi peoples home of the many wild and endangered
species, the Lion, the elephants, the rhinos and the many African wildlife
one can imagine. The issues of Africa’s past amazed me. The colonization
of the Continent by the French, English, Germans, Dutch, etc. The Boer
wars, Apartheid and how the Grugerrand was its own world. How Nelson
Mandela fought the good fight and won. Jailed for 27 years in Robben
island of the coast of Capetown and his release in 1990. How Ian’s Smiths
Rhodesia now Zimbabwe was transformed from the richest country in Africa
to the poorest of the poor in just a few years.
What happened to the land of the
bushmen, the Kalahari, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria and the land of
plenty? I was surprised to see that the Africa I knew from books was no
more. It had withstood the pressures of time and war. But it has suffered
and taken its toll on the environment and it’s people. It had fought
Apartheid and showed the world that issues and people no matter what color
or creed could live together in harmony. That was South Africa’s message
to the world. If we can do it so can you all. The World Summit had began
its historic journey.
Having been to Rio’s Earth summit in
1992. where the entire world was engulfed in a New Hope for saving the
earth’s resources. Where all people signed the CBD-Convention on
Biological Diversity except for the US. Where the NGOs worked from
Flamenco Park and Hotel Gloria endlessly to give their counter parts in
government their sentiments and feedback’s. things were more direct then;
there were more interactions. The world was happy that there was hope.
Then the crafting of the Earth Charter and the many treaties signed in Rio
as well as the sacred Agenda 21. the blueprint for sustainable development
for the 21st century. Those Rio’s Legacy.
It was an honor to be part of the
Philippine Delegation representing Civil Society. We were all together,
government, civil society, local government units and NGO’s. at the WSSD
World Summit in Johannesburg things were even more crucial. Failure would
mean more crucial. Failure would mean the end of the world in many ways.
War for water. Conflicts for food. Destruction of ecosystems from global
warning and climate change. We could not afford to loose and the summit
had to come up with declarations and a plan for implementation to save the
planet, alleviate the poor, give access of water and sanitation, go for
renewable energies, sustainable agriculture. Good governance and corporate
responsibility, global warning, trade and subsidies, poverty.
The earth has gone from bad to worse
since Rio and everyone knew it, survival of the planet was essential. Yet
many vested interest groups and developed countries tried to stall what
would have been a good summit. A great and historical summit.
We had a new player in the World Summit
and that was IUCN-World Conversation Union. They set up headquarters at
the NEDCOR bank and had events more exciting at times than the UN. They
made a difference; after all they were not in Rio. Many flocked to IUCN as
it herald a new beginning for IUCN. As well as the role it will have to
play after the summit. They in deed made a difference. And we salute Achim
Steiner our director general and the IUCN staff for the work they did at
the summit. I was proud to be an IUCN elected Councilor.
After attending the World Parks
Congress launching by President Nelson Mandela at IUCN to be held at
Durban. South Africa next year. We could not help but admire him more when
he began his speech by saying, “I know why you are here, you all want to
see an old man without a job will say,” he was magnetic. Seeing Kofi Annan
director general of the UN in plenary seeing it as it is, as well as many
dignitaries and head of states who and attended the World Summit to make
their voices heard. And friends that I have known for sometime in the
environmental movement. It is always great to see them for our concerns
are all for the planet and the poor.
This time around the NGO Global Forum
in NASREC and the NGO camp in Ubuntu village did not achieve what Flamenco
Park did in Rio. Here in NASREC there was more that NGO’s wanted to put
forward to their governments. But this did not happen. Instead they had
their own delegates and forum, as well as their own declaration. They
marched as many did. To stress a point, No to GMOs. No to mining greenwash.
Water, food and land for all.
Why are they not being consulted? Why
is Africa so poor that it is forced to receive GMO Products from the US?
When Europe has rejected GMOs. When GMOs are bad for the human health and
the environment invasive species already has done their damage. And the
world knows. Like the rabbits brought from Capetown to Australia by
Captain Cook. To Australia disadvantage.
The youth spoke out with their message
read by Catherine Kangping in plenary, then the indigenous people spoke
out with their message read by Victoria Corpuz both Filipinos. It was to
me and many others a test for time, action and commitment, perseverance
and we are running out of time. We all need to act and act fast. After
intense negotiations with the Group of 77 (G-77) and China. We had a
common stand in water, biodiversity, energy, and many of the issues. Our
time tables were met. Through frankly to others and me they are a little
and too late.
Finally, after the summit we went to
Capetown and visited the Carmelite Mission in Retreat, Capetown and
visited the Carmelite Mission in Retreat, Capetown. Carmel always our home
enriches our spirituality and gives us the strength to persevere. Then we
saw the Table Mountain before we went to our real Safari at the Bakuhong
Game Lodge in Philansburg National Park a four hour drive from
Johannesburg. It was there that the Africa I knew in books was alive, that
I saw with my own eyes still existed. We would rise early and go on a
safari and see elephant’s block our way eating in luxury like they had all
the times in the world.
If they only knew? We saw Rhinos,
Zebra, Monkeys, Kudus, and many others. Watching the new noon at the
horizon as day turned into night and the wildlife of Africa spoke out in
there different languages saying Help us. We will not be here for long,
they continue to poach and kill us. Even the people are hungry with all
the animals around. Why? For greed, power? We do not know, but when Mother
Nature calls let us answer her with the message that we hear your cry for
help. We will protect and conserve the environment. And all the creatures
that live in them.
For you and for the
children of generations to come.
Antonio M. Claparols
President - Ecological Society of the Philippines
Council Reviews mining and biodiversity initiative
December 12 ,
its December meeting, the IUCN Council fully supported a new dialogue on
mining and biodiversity between IUCN and the International Council on
Mining and Minerals (ICMM). The terms for a dialogue have not yet been
agreed. Council indicated, however, that any dialogue should be on the
basis of good faith negotiations by all parties based on existing IUCN
policy. Although IUCN has been engaged on issues related to mining for
many years, especially safeguarding protected areas, this particular
initiative is relatively new. It was first announced as a "partnership" at
the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Council felt that it was more
accurate to refer to it as a "dialogue", given that it is a preliminary
stage and that the term "partnership" had been incorrectly misconstrued at
the time of the announcement at the WSSD.
Full letter from the President
International Union for the Conservation of Nature Statement
Statement of IUCN - The World
Conservation Union At the Second Meeting of the Open- Ended
Inter-Governmental Group of Ministers or their Representatives on
International Environmental Governance, Bonn, 17 July, 2001
Remarks on Behalf of Achim Steiner
IUCN - The World Conservation Union
Bonn, Germany, 17 July,
Madame Chair, Mr. Executive Director, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you the opportunity to participate in this very
important meeting. It is an honor for IUCN to be able to participate and
to make a statement here today.
IUCN looks forward to collaborating with each of you
and in particular to continue our support of and collaboration with UNEP
in its efforts on this matter. IUCN strongly endorses the effort to
strengthen UNEP and the international environmental architecture, while at
the same time promoting environmental governance at the national and local
levels, which we see as being inextricably linked. We also see a strong
system of environmental governance as critical to broader goals of
IUCN wishes to emphasise in this context that it stands
ready to energise its extensive network to carry the message of this
meeting forward. IUCN notes that its membership includes many of the
governments present here today, along with almost 800 NGOs, and a network
of scientists and policy makers that number close to 10,000. With this
network, including its regional and country offices based mostly in
developing countries, and tied together both through newsletter and
electronic communication, we wish to help disseminate the message of this
meeting and to inform and educate the interested public about these
As part of our work to assist UNEP in the area of
global environmental governance, we recently convened a meeting of experts
on this topic, along with Yale University. This meeting took place at IUCN
Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, and the report of the meeting is set
IUCN Report on Global Environmental Governance
Workshop, 20-22 June, 2001 Gland, Switzerland
Nearly 40 international experts in the area of
development and environmental law and policy met June 20-22 at IUCN
Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, in the fifth in a series of dialogues
on global environmental governance convened by the Yale University Center
for Environmental Law and Policy. This was the first such meeting
cosponsored by IUCN. Participants came from government agencies,
intergovernmental bodies, NGOs, the private sector, and academia.
This meeting took place in the backdrop of the ongoing
international environmental governance review of UNEP and the preparations
for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This type of meeting it
is hoped will be seen as a complementary input to the official processes.
One of the themes of the meeting in the importance of drawing on public
policy network processes such as this meeting to reinforce official
IUCN Director General Achim Steiner opened the meeting
by calling on the participants to produce a positive vision of a platform
for global public policy inputs, supported by scientific assessments,
strategies, and options for reform.
Participants identified as the priority issue the need
for the existing international legal instruments and institutions to
fulfil the requirements of environmentally sustainable development,
including, inter alia, the capacity to: address emerging issues and
uncertainties, make connections across sectors and issues while avoiding
duplication, develop common frameworks for problem identification,
negotiation, monitoring and dispute resolution, and facilitate
The need for full integration with the broader
objectives of sustainable development was stressed as a major concern.
Environmental institutions must be able contribute to sustainable
development and link to globalisation issues.
Coherent national systems of governance, including as
reflecting larger international policy was a recurring theme. There was
considerable support for the proposition that "global environmental
governance" considerations should not be limited to international
institutions. Institutional questions, it was argued, should flow from
specific needs and objectives.
The workshop reviewed the elements necessary for
effective environmental management at any level of governance, national or
· Coherence among actors in setting an environmental
· Common understanding through shared data
· Accountability, including compliance mechanisms, monitoring and
· Provisions for capacity building for effective governance.
· Measures for conflict management.
· Provisions for effective participation, such as multistakeholder
processes, equity in the participation of governments, and public access
to authoritative, reliable, and objective data.
· Balance between economic, social, and environmental considerations
There was general support for the principle that
environmental problems are best dealt with as close to their origins as
possible, but recognizing that higher levels of governance should be
invoked where local or national action cannot achieve the necessary
results by itself. Some issues that could best to be handled at
international or regional levels include performance monitoring of the
effectiveness of international instruments and institutions.
The meeting stressed that it was important for
environmental institutions to contribute to the broader processes of
sustainable development. In this regard, it is not possible for
environmental institutions by themselves to achieve sustainable
development. International financial institutions and other donors have
made some effort to mainstream environmental or sustainable development
requirements in their programmes, but with somewhat mixed results. The CSD
was intended to provide an appropriate forum to bridge the relationship
between environment and development, but it has proved difficult for the
CSD to capitalize upon its multistakeholder process to achieve concrete
results, and is a subject that requires further consideration, including
for the World Summit on Sustainable Development process.
The role of the GEF was also addressed in terms of
environmental governance with respect to its own governance, its
relationships with conventions, and its role in the future of the
international governance system. Given the diversity of views, the roles
and functions of GEF are an appropriate topic for further deliberation.
Overall most participants felt that normative processes
were generally in place; but processes that link social, economic, and
environmental decision-making in a balanced and effective way are missing.
In particular, rule making for financial institutions is not effectively
harmonised with environmental rule making.
Other key concerns were noted, including that:
· Developing country contributions to convention
implementation are not appropriately valued or appreciated. We need to
build in more developing country considerations and acknowledge their
· Developing country concerns should not be marginalized in the process.
· Respect for national sovereignty must be recognised and at the same
time, balanced with the need to prevent selective participation by states
in international agreements.
Specific steps for further analysis and study
recommended in the course of discussions in the workshop included:
1. Focus should be on parallel tracks of incremental
improvement in the existing international environmental regime, and
exploration of "radical" reform of international instruments and
institutions. These parallel processes need to take account of the context
of development imperatives and economic realities.
2. To better define what "governance" means, further analytical work
should be carried out, complemented by the identification of best
practices. Great care should be taken to develop a common vocabulary, and
to lay the groundwork for the introduction of concepts.
3. Further work on governance should build upon the existing normative
foundations, and identify gaps and missed opportunities in the current
system. A good understanding of where governance efforts have failed and
why is key to progress.
4. New models should be developed, drawing upon the positive experiences
of public policy networks, and innovative multistakeholder processes such
as the World Commission on Dams.
5. As a priority, national co-ordination efforts should be supported and
strengthened, especially but not only in developing countries.
6. While there were clear limitations to proposals to cluster agreements
through a formal negotiation process, independent research could advance
the idea on the basis of analysis of disfunctionalities.
7. The conditions for attracting investment, alleviating poverty, and
governing effectively have common features. A clear statement of these
similarities would be useful in advancing the sustainable development
IUCN wishes to note that to achieve the goals set forth
above, two additional steps are required:
First, that methods of communication must be enhanced
so that the information is made transparent and that there is full public
participation. To this point, while international environmental governance
is of great interest, few people are able to fully share in the dialogue.
IUCN therefore offers to collaborate with UNEP and others to help
disseminate this information over the IUCN networks, and newsletters.
Second, that a key forum to address progress on
international environmental governance is the upcoming World Summit on
Sustainable Development. IUCN is concerned that the WSSD process at this
point is unfocussed, and there is a risk that steps are being taken too
late to make this process and its summit effective. Thus, IUCN will
announce soon the appointment of a Special Advisor on the WSSD, and will
concentrate on collaborating with UNEP and others in efforts to make the
Thank you very much for your attention.