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
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
• 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 &
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
Friends of the Earth Japan
Sierra Club of Canada