The event is open to all COP participants. Interpretation in English, French and Spanish will be provided.
Facilitated by leading experts and chaired by Lorena Tapia, the Environment Minister of Ecuador, the Panel will be held in a round-table format and the subject under discussion will be how the apparently conflicting philosophies of the “green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” and the “rights of nature” can be reconciled. The expected outcome is a Declaration or President’s summary. Making up the Round Table will be 20 selected Environment Ministers from Asia, Africa and Latin America, Executive Secretaries of Multilateral Environment Agreements, Executives of International NGOs and other high level participants.
The "rights of nature" and the "green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication" are two approaches that have emerged in response to the ecological crisis and both have gained a great deal of momentum in the two years post-Rio+20. The two competing approaches have spurred an ongoing debate which begs a number of questions: can the two approaches be reconciled; what are the limitations of each of them? Can a balance be struck between the two? and if so, where does that balance lie?
The heavy toll on the world’s wildlife in general and migratory species in particular is alarming:
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) suggests that one quarter of all known species of sharks and rays are threatened by extinction and 25 species are classified as critically endangered.
- Five of the seven species of sea turtles are endangered or critically endangered.
- The majority of species of albatross and petrel are endangered or critically endangered
- 100 elephants are poached in Africa every day and only 500,000 are left in the wild today compared to 1979 when there were approximately 1.3 million.
- Subpopulations of Irrawaddy Dolphins in South-East Asia are critically endangered.
- Populations of Monarch Butterflies are plummeting. Nearly two decades ago, in the winter of 1996-97, dense Monarch colonies covered 44.9 acres in Mexican forests. In the 2013-14 winter, the colonies covered only 1.7 acres.
- Over 140 million migratory birds were illegally trapped in North Africa in 2013 and 2.8 million estimated to be trapped in 2012 according to NABU (BirdLife Partner in Germany) counts.
Here are some questions that we might expect the High Level Ministerial Panel to address:
- Can the rights of nature be implemented in a practical and in wide-scale way that would allow for sustainable and comprehensive protection of nature?
- Are there other democratic controls or alternatives to managing the world’s ecological commons?
- How can equity and property rights of migratory species and nature be better balanced if a "green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication" approach were to be widely adopted?
- What role would Sustainable Development Goals or targets on the protection of nature and/or species or wildlife play in averting the ecological crisis? How could it be compatible with the "rights of nature" or the "green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication" approaches?
- How can the "rights of nature" and the "green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication" be reconciled and what are concrete ways of achieving this?
The full concept note for the event can be found here.