- Posted January 7, 2013 by
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The Concept of Biodiversity Cannot Enter Taiwanese Society due to the Public’s Unfamiliarity.
Author: Jing-Huei, Liao / Translator: Yu-Ching, Wang / Photo Provided: HsinChu City Government via flickr
Although the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) keeps putting the concept of biodiversity into the mainstream value, people do not think of it in their daily lives because it’s still an unfamiliar term. Not to mention that the public would understand the damage on the biological system might cause unpredictable disasters.
Compared with gender mainstreaming, the power of promoting biodiversity is still weak in Taiwan. Biodiversity is not only absent in the urban plans, but also considered as poison in environmental impact assessments.
Mainstreaming biodiversity, in short, is to ponder what impacts on the ecosystems may be caused by one’s behaviour. What might change in the community if certain species were disappeared? Should the land exploitation be avoided if it is not necessary? Also on the public issues such as adding designs of biodiversity on the urban development, taking biodiversity into account in environmental impact assessments.
“All the goals that aim at sustainable society should be seen as one same concept. Under the existing framework, we should assess different issues and see whether certain actions should be strengthened or weakened.” said Ling-Ling Lee, the professor of the Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at National Taiwan University.
Biodiversity Conservation, Sustainable Use and Benefits Sharing
The main stresses that cause biodiversity declines include habit change, exotic species invasions, pollution, population and overexploitation, which are internationally abbreviated as “HIPPO.”
According to the regulations of the CBD, each country owns sovereignty on the biological resources inside the territory, and they are also responsible for conserving the biodiversity in their countries and encouraging sustainable use of biological resources. That is the three main goals of the Convention: biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and benefits sharing.
Although Taiwan is not a signatory country of the Convention, the government established a Biodiversity Working Group under the National Council for Sustainable Development. However, no substantial effects of practicing mainstreaming biodiversity can be seen so far.
Ecosystems, Species and Genetic Diversity are All Indispensable
Biodiversity includes ecosystems, species and genetic diversity. In Taiwan, there are various kinds of ecosystems such as marine ecosystem, estuarine ecosystem, wetland ecosystem, lake ecosystem, stream ecosystem, forest ecosystem, field ecosystem and island ecosystem. According to the Biodiversity Research Center of Academia Sinica, in Taiwan exist 56133 species, which are classified under 8 kingdoms, 59 divisions, 143 classes, 667 orders, 3194 families, 18143 genus.
To conserve genetic diversity, many countries are actively building national germplasm banks. Taiwan also preserves 12639 kinds of seeds, including paddy rice, grains and vegetables, in the Svalbard International Seed Vault. The main principle is to conserve the crops, animals and aquatic products that humans rely on. The conservation work is very difficult. All the seeds, tissue cultures and animal embryos should always be maintained cultivable and reproducible. In Taiwan, the mission is taken by the National Plant Genetic Resources Center, the Endemic Species Research Institute, the Taipei Zoo and Academia Sinica.
“Maintaining the habitats is the best way to conserve the species.” stated Ling-Ling Lee. “Biodiversity is an attitude of respecting lives. It means much more than understanding the term and recognizing the species.”
The First of Aichi Biodiversity Targets
In October 2011, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 was formulated at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Nagoya Japan. The Strategic Plan consists of 5 strategies and 20 biodiversity targets for 2020, which are also called as the “Aichi Biodiversity Targets.”
The first strategy is to address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society. Four targets were developed under this strategy.
Target 1: By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
Target 2: By 2020, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes and are being incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems.
Target 3: By 2020, at the latest, incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimize or avoid negative impacts, and positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied, consistent and in harmony with the Convention and other relevant international obligations, taking into account national socio economic conditions.
Target 4: By 2020, at the latest, Governments, business and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption and have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits.