Call to Action

For Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods by NGOs from Megadiverse Countries

Johannesburg, South Africa, August 30th, 2002.

Megadiverse countries are those supporting the highest levels of biological diversity – encompassing the greatest richness of the natural world. Well over half of the planet’s plant and animal species live within their borders.

These countries are directly responsible for the management of most of the planet’s great natural ecosystems, including irreplaceable and awe-inspiring forests, rainforests, coral reefs, wetlands and woodland Savannah’s. All of these values are under threat.

In the ten years since Rio, the decline of the Earth’s natural systems and the services they provide – upon which human communities are ultimately dependent – continues to accelerate at an alarming rate.

Rates of deforestation and land clearing remain appallingly high. For instance, Indonesia loses over 2,000,000 hectares of forest each year. And even in Australia, over 600,000 hectares of native vegetation are destroyed every year – the fifth highest rate overall and the highest of any developed nation.

Clearly, on land and in water, the variety and web of life on Earth face overwhelming odds. The time to act is now.

We, non-governmental and community-based organizations from three megadiverse countries – Indonesia, Brazil and Australia – express our grave concern that current efforts to conserve global biodiversity are inadequate and that conservation is not being advanced at this World Summit for Sustainable Development.

We strongly call upon the national governments of the world to:

• Substantially strengthen the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by signing off on the target of arresting global biodiversity loss by 2010.

• Agree to negotiate the creation of an international regime within the CBD to effectively promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biodiversity and its components. Life is not a commodity. International trade and investment frameworks must not compromise multilateral environment agreements.

• Vigorously support the Precautionary Principle – reaffirming the principles of the Rio Declaration.

• Agree to a binding International framework on corporate accountability to avoid any social and environmental harm associated with corporate activity. Each country should introduce a code of corporate conduct in legislation, making firms liable for their actions within countries and abroad.

• Reaffirm the special responsibility of the developed countries to commit new and additional resources to support developing countries to protect and sustainably use biodiversity.

• Recognize traditional conservation management of biodiversity and ensure proper engagement with and the prior consent of local communities, Indigenous Peoples and civil society in national and international policy development and implementation.

We are opposed to ‘Type II’ voluntary partnership agreements without clear linkage to ‘Type I’ timebound, targeted, monitored and properly financed agreements.

We believe that a sustainable world is possible.

Indonesian People’s Forum

Brazilian Forum of NGOs & Social Movements on Environment & Development

Amazonian Working Group (GTA)

Australian Conservation Foundation

Friends of the Earth Australia

Supporting Statement from JUSCANZ NGOs

We, NGOs from the countries of JUSCANZ (a coalition of the governments of non-European developed countries) offer our strong support for this call to action and urge all governments to make it a reality.

Friends of the Earth Japan

Sierra Club

Sierra Club of Canada