The awards are given to countries that contribute to biodiversity loss
CBD Alliance, a network of non-profits, civil society groups and activists, selected Canada and the UK for its Dodo Awards. The Dodo bird represents biodiversity loss and the awards are given to those governments that are contributing to biodiversity loss, rather than preventing it.
“Canada is the clear leader, for breaching the moratorium on ocean fertilisation and geo-engineering adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2008 and 2010,” said a representative of the CBD Alliance.
“Right in the middle of CBD negotiations, we discovered that Canada had 'ignored' a huge ocean fertilisation event that was recently carried out off their Pacific coast, in violation of two international conventions,” the Alliance pointed out (see ‘The violation’).
Helena Paul of EcoNexus said Canada was also chosen for its strong stance on biofuels. “Canada insisted that CBD is not a place to discuss food security, and so the impacts of biofuel expansion on food should not be considered,” she added. Furthermore, “After asserting the biodiversity benefits of biofuels, Canada threatened that it would call for a deletion of text including socio-economic issues and reintroduce proposals if other governments proposed any further changes to the biofuels text”. Canada also refused to recognise the importance of participation of indigenous people and local communities in the ecologically and biologically significant marine areas process. It tried to stop the CBD from taking up synthetic biology as a new and emerging issue.
The UK was the other winner of the Dodo Award. “The country is busy behind the scenes blocking attempts in the European Union and CBD to adopt a precautionary approach to synthetic biology and establish or maintain moratoria,” said Paul. “The UK government hopes to become a leader in these technologies, primarily for the benefit of their own economy,” she added.
Moreover, the UK is busy commodifying biodiversity and the functions of ecosystems by developing biodiversity offsets, noted the CBD Alliance. “Offsets don’t reduce biodiversity loss. Instead, the idea is to ‘pay for your sins’ elsewhere. Does the UK hope that biodiversity offsets and other financial mechanisms will replace the financial commitments that industrialised countries urgently need to make to the global effort to stem biodiversity loss? Many in the global South call this the ecological debt owed to them by developed countries,” noted Paul.
The Dodo Award winners were chosen by consensus within the CBD Alliance members. Runners up included China, Brazil and Paraguay.
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