Sharm El Sheikh makes biodiversity history

Today saw the official opening of the UN's Conference on Biodiversity (COP14), the Cartagena Protocol (COPMOP9) and the Nagoya Protocol (COPMOP3).

In a fun-filled event which saw Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi give an opening address the fourteenth conference of parties on Biodiversity was officially opened. It will be two weeks of debate, decision making, and hopefully conclude with a firm strategy to tackle the degradation and loss of the world’s natural resources.

José Octavio Tripp Villanueva, Ambassador of Mexico to Egypt, and representing the presidency of COP13 highlighted the successes coming from the previous COP, but he tempered his message, saying there is still much to be done.

“We need to set a path for a strategic plan for post-2020 – to be adopted in China in two years. Together we can achieve Agenda 20030 and the Aichi targets. Now it is Egypt’s turn – we wish them every success,” said Villanueva.

The sentiments of the previous days High-Level Segments were by and large repeated at the opening ceremony.

The President of COP 14, Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment for Egypt went on to say that ”Diversity and culture are the foundation of humanity, stability and lasting peace."

"Now we need to link diversity with development. Nature and humanity are indivisible and always will be.”

Fouad then listed some of the great achievements Egypt has had recently with biodiversity protection such as protecting the Nile river from pollution.

“Taking care of nature is taking care of ourselves and our identity,” said Dr Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary at the Convention on Biological Diversity. “We are turning the Earth from a carbon sink to a carbon emitter.

"We need to choose a path of restoration and regeneration. It is a monumental challenge to embark on – success is not assured – yet I remain optimistic, and I hope you find it contagious.”

“All stakeholders need to take action now,” said Egypt's President el-Sisi. “Natural resources are at the heart of our progress."

"The Religious texts we have found set out rules for Pharaohs on protecting biodiversity. We need to emulate them on our pathway to social justice and sustainable development.”

President el-Sisi went on to say that despite progress since 1992, we have still not mobilised the global community and this convention has not achieved its goals of natural resource management. As such this is a timely conference to highlight all the opportunities that now lay before us.”