(COP11 or the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity—CBD— is ongoing at Hyderadad, India, October 8-19, 2012. The CBD was signed by 150 government leaders during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit intended to put into action the principles of Agenda 21. The CBD recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live.)
- SEARICE would like to emphasize that whatever the Parties may do as they adopt the so-called “biodiversity-friendly” policies, this should not be done at the expense of prioritizing voluntary standards over binding rules and regulations that must be complied with by businesses and other interested sectors and stakeholders.
- The bottom line is that these voluntary standards cannot guarantee that it will deliver the required change of behavior in the utilization of biodiversity and its resources. At best, they are good for awareness raising, but its effectiveness is gauged by how much biodiversity will be protected from the unbridled exploitation of resources should these voluntary measures be given more importance than binding rules and regulations that must be complied with.
- The business sector should not just pay lip-service to its adherence to existing biodiversity rules and regulations wherever part of the world they may be located. It is part of their corporate social accountability, for them to be always adhering to the rules, not to foster voluntarism as an approach to compliance with binding rules and regulations.