Ms. Wang Ling Second Secretary of the Chinese Mission
at the UN is planked
Javier and Antonio M. Claparols during the WSSD at Johannesberg.

People and nature in one world

All roads lead to Bangkok for the 3rd World Conservation Congress with the theme: 'People and Nature -  Only One World.'

The congress which will run from November 17 to 25 will be attended by over 3,500 delegates and will be graced by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and IUCN President Yolanda Kakabadse.

Hosted by the IUCN-World Conservation Union which was founded in 1948, the agenda will include everything that will have an impact to our planet and people. Issues on climate change, conservation of mountains, oceans and river system, water, air, the Basel Convention on Toxic trade, war and the environment, poverty, eradication, species consumption patterns, human population, dynamics, poverty and inequality, forests, world heritage sites and protected areas, eco systems, sustainable livelihood, indigenous people rights, coral reefs, fisheries, sustainable organic agriculture, food and environmental security.

More than 114 motions have been filed and will be debated by the delegates. These are controversial motions that need to be debated and adopted to protect and conserve the planet.

Two of the most controversial issues that will be debated with a strong lobby by the primary sector are about genetically modified organisms and mining.

Another hot issue that will be discussed is climate change and its effects to man and the environment.

IUCN councilor and Ecological Society of the Philippines president Antonio M. Claparols stressed that the congress is vital to the future of the planet and hopes that the conservation movement will prevail over multinational companies on issues destroying the environment. they must have the corporate responsibility to protect and conserve the environment.

Claparols stressed that we cannot afford to continue destroying our forests, oceans, ecosystems and species. We cannot afford to continue our consumption patterns. For if we do then the planets and our very own existence is at stake, he added.

One good development is the ratification of the Kyoto Climate Change Protocol by Russia.

IN this context, Claparols calls on the Philippines Senate to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible.

We call on the government to pursue programs that will enhance biodiversity, increase agricultural produce, provide water and sanitation and eradicate poverty, Claparols said.

Berlin sets the example

THE BRANDENBURG Gate,  national symbol

I Recently visited the great city of Berlin to fulfill my promise to my late mother. Now i can truly say that I am a Berliner at heart.

It was my first time in the City, but images of it have long been on my mind - the Cold War, the Berlin Wall and its eventual collapse in 1989, after our own people power revolution in 1986.

I so admired the Berliners� progress in comparison to ours. And yet we won our freedom earlier!

I stood at the Brandenburg Gate, a national symbol, near the Reichstag (the Parliament), where there is a dome for the people to view their ministers at work. (It�s a good practice for good governance and transparency that we can adopt.)

I walk the three-kilometer 17th of June street, where, I learned, the Victory Column was moved by Adolf Hitler for the simple reason that he did not like it because it represented the kings and their glory.

I strolled to the Unter den Linden (meaning, beneath the linden trees) Avenue to the Alexanderplatz dedicated to Alexander I of Russia.

I visited the neo-Renaisance Berlin Cathedral and admired its beautiful dome.

In 1817 King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia proclaimed the union of the Lutheran and Reformed churches. The old Baroque cathedral then known as the Kings Church became the united church for the two Protestant denominations, and the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel went about its renovation.

Following Germany�s victory over France in 1871, Wilhelm III was subsequently crowned the third and last German emperor. Under his direction the cathedral was demolished to make room for a new and monumental Italian-style structure.

His architect, Julius Carl Raschdorff, designed the new cathedral, the so-called �state and ceremonial house.�

THE BERLIN Cathedral, burial site of the Hohenzollerns

The Berlin Cathedral was intended to be the central church for all Protestants of Prussia and Germany and the burial grounds of the Hohenzollern dynasty.

The site is a majestic symbol of the old Berlin. Beside it is Europe�s tallest edifice, the Deutsche telecommunication tower, a symbol of the New Berlin.

The contrast is just as majestic as the transformation of the city after the fall of the Wall in 1989.

Naturally, I visited Checkpoint Charlie, which marked the then border of East and West Berlin.

There are four dates that dominate the recent history of Berlin: 1871, when the city was made the capital of the German Empire; 1945, when the Nazi Reich was taken by the troops of the Red Army; 1961, specifically on Aug. 13, when in a single day the infamous Wall was built; and 1989, when the Wall finally fell.

The big domestic issue in Berlin is the Schloss (Castle). The people like to say that the Schloss is not in Berlin; it is Berlin.

It may not mean as much to other people, but to Berliners, it represents their history and are proud of it.

The public transport system is one of the best in the world. They are bicycle lanes, pedestrian lanes, the S-Bahn, the U-Bahn, and buses that will take you anywhere.

The government�s goal is to have public transportation control 80 percent of the traffic, and private cars, 20 percent. With this goal, the environment will be well under control.

My visit to Berlin came at a time when rallies were being held to call attention to two issues: the lower budget for education, and the environment.

Environment appears to be a key issue worldwide. The whole world is suffering from the effects of the War in Iraq, globalization, and the destruction fo the environment. As i was writing this, southern France was underwater and New England in the United States was being battered by storms and other results of climatic changes. And yet the United States refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol!

I also read in the International Herald Tribune that well-known ski resorts were suffering the lack of snow to operate, and that banks had stopped extending loans to them.

My visit to Berlin and subsequent sojourn in Europe actually began in Gland, Switzerland, where the IUCN World Conservation Union had its 59th meeting.

On the agenda were such environmental issues as the results of the 5th World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa; the Durban Accords and Action Plan; the 3rd World Conservation Congress in Bangkok next November; and the dialogue with the extractive industries, which had hogged the limelight in the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

(The last issue was also the concern at the meeting of our own Philippine Council for Sustainable Development in Manila, Where the National Policy on minerals was the main point of the agenda. It is a controversial issue marked by the many environmental problems plaguing our government, and is actually part of its 8-point economic plan. The civil society groups in the PCSD is against this national policy on minerals).

After Switzerland, i proceeded to Paris for visit to the Unesco office, where we spoke about the future of the World Heritage sites in our country, as well as that of the Comoe World Heritage site in the Ivory Coast.

And then on the Berlin, and the sterling example it sets in conserving the environment...

The author is president of the Ecological Society of the Philippines and regional councilor of the IUCN.

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5th World Parks Congress sets agenda for 2010

The 5th World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa officially closed recently, leaving in its wake the Durban Accord. The Action Plan and recommendations which more than 3,000 delegates are set to be accomplished when they return to their respective countries.

The congress was highlighted by the presence of some political luminaries including former South African President Nelson Mandela who opened the congress and reiterated the need for a World Summit for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty. Meanwhile, Queen Noor of Jordan spoke one the vital role of protected areas and the boundaries outside protected areas. She stressed that we are merely tenants of the Earth, not its owners, so it is imperative that we leave it in its pristine stage.

South African President Thanbo Mbeki on the other hand, said that the future of humankind can only be secured by the real protection of declared areas for protection and that we must be vigilant on the activities of industries extracting resources in these areas.

Achim Steiner, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) director general, expressed his optimism as 3,000 delegates return to their home countries armed with the Durban Accord, Action Plan and Recommendations as well as new knowledge.

Having been an active environmentalist, Antonio M. Claparols, president of the Ecological Society of the Philippines, and who is also the regional councilor of IUCN, one of the delegate of non-governmental organizations from the Philippines, Claparols reiterated his commitment to the 94 protected areas in the country. These areas include Batanes, Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, Apo Reef, Mt. Kanlaon, Agusan Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, among others.

As the congress closed, the future of the marine environment was also stressed. The oceans cover 75 percent of the Earth's surface and harbors over 94 percent of all life forms. Yet, only less than one percent of the oceans are protected. The coral triangle, which lies in Southeast Asia is the richest in marine biodiversity in the world and is great danger.

We are blessed with having one of the riches coral and marine biodiversity in the world and we must protect them, Claparols said.

With a decade to go in achieving the goals set by the 5th World Park Congress, a combined effort of non-government and governmental organizations can mitigate the wanton destruction of these areas. But the action must be done now and avert future threats to our dwindling biodiversity, Claparols added.

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3rd World Water Forum Watered Down

Result is Strong Convergence and Weak Ministerial Declaration
Kyoto, Japan, 23 March 2003 (IUCN) � IUCN � The World Conservation Union welcomes the demonstrations of progress in water resources management at the 3rd World Water Forum, yet expresses its concern with the outcomes of the Ministerial Conference: the Ministerial Declaration. The Declaration falls short of the needed and expected strong commitment to action. The technical debates at the Forum, which showed many complementary approaches to improve management, contrast with the outcomes of the ministerial meeting. �The Forum demonstrated convergence of ideas and successful actions, and IUCN believes this to be a major step forward. The ministerial meeting however did not follow suit. We need to rethink the way these meetings are conducted�, says Dr. Ger Bergkamp, Head of the IUCN Delegation. Forums such as the 3rd World Water Forum should ensure clear linkages between the outputs of the technical meetings and the concluding ministerial agreements or declaration

Our Safari to Africa, from Rio to Johannesburg

AFRICA has always intrigued me. It�s mystique of being wild and home of the Zulu nation. Xhosa, Sotho, Venda, Pedi peoples home of the many wild and endangered species, the Lion, the elephants, the rhinos and the many African wildlife one can imagine. The issues of Africa�s past amazed me. The colonization of the Continent by the French, English, Germans, Dutch, etc. The Boer wars, Apartheid and how the Grugerrand was its own world. How Nelson Mandela fought the good fight and won. Jailed for 27 years in Robben island of the coast of Capetown and his release in 1990. How Ian�s Smiths Rhodesia now Zimbabwe was transformed from the richest country in Africa to the poorest of the poor in just a few years.

What happened to the land of the bushmen, the Kalahari, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria and the land of plenty? I was surprised to see that the Africa I knew from books was no more. It had withstood the pressures of time and war. But it has suffered and taken its toll on the environment and it�s people. It had fought Apartheid and showed the world that issues and people no matter what color or creed could live together in harmony. That was South Africa�s message to the world. If we can do it so can you all. The World Summit had began its historic journey.

Having been to Rio�s Earth summit in 1992. where the entire world was engulfed in a New Hope for saving the earth�s resources. Where all people signed the CBD-Convention on Biological Diversity except for the US. Where the NGOs worked from Flamenco Park and Hotel Gloria endlessly to give their counter parts in government their sentiments and feedback�s. things were more direct  then; there were more interactions. The world was happy that there was hope. Then the crafting of the Earth Charter and the many treaties signed in Rio as well as the sacred Agenda 21. the blueprint for sustainable development for the 21st century. Those Rio�s Legacy.

It was an honor to be part of the Philippine Delegation representing Civil Society. We were all together, government, civil society, local government units and NGO�s. at the WSSD World Summit in Johannesburg things were even more crucial. Failure would mean more crucial. Failure would mean the end of the world in many ways. War for water. Conflicts for food. Destruction of ecosystems from global warning and climate change. We could not afford to loose and the summit had to come up with declarations and a plan for implementation to save the planet, alleviate the poor, give access of water and sanitation, go for renewable energies, sustainable agriculture. Good governance and corporate responsibility, global warning, trade and subsidies, poverty.

The earth has gone from bad to worse since Rio and everyone knew it, survival of the planet was essential. Yet many vested interest groups and developed countries tried to stall what would have been a good summit. A great and historical summit.

We had a new player in the World Summit and that was IUCN-World Conversation Union. They set up headquarters at the NEDCOR bank and had events more exciting at times than the UN. They made a difference; after all they were not in Rio. Many flocked to IUCN as it herald a new beginning for IUCN. As well as the role it will have to play after the summit. They in deed made a difference. And we salute Achim Steiner our director general and the IUCN staff for the work they did at the summit. I was proud to be an IUCN elected Councilor.

After attending the World Parks Congress launching by President Nelson Mandela at IUCN to be held at Durban. South Africa next year. We could not help but admire him more when he began his speech by saying, �I know why you are here, you all want to see an old man without a job will say,� he was magnetic. Seeing Kofi Annan director general of the UN in plenary seeing it as it is, as well as many dignitaries and head of states who and attended the World Summit to make their voices heard. And friends that I have known for sometime in the environmental movement. It is always great to see them for our concerns are all for the planet and the poor.

This time around the NGO Global Forum in NASREC and the NGO camp in Ubuntu village did not achieve what Flamenco Park did in Rio. Here in NASREC there was more that NGO�s wanted to put forward to their governments. But this did not happen. Instead they had their own delegates and forum, as well as their own declaration. They marched as many did. To stress a point, No to GMOs. No to mining greenwash. Water, food and land for all.

Why are they not being consulted? Why is Africa so poor that it is forced to receive GMO Products from the US? When Europe has rejected GMOs. When GMOs are bad for the human health and the environment invasive species already has done their damage. And the world knows. Like the rabbits brought from Capetown to Australia by Captain Cook. To Australia disadvantage.

The youth spoke out with their message read by Catherine Kangping in plenary, then the indigenous people spoke out with their message read by Victoria Corpuz both Filipinos. It was to me and many others a test for time, action and commitment, perseverance and we are running out of time. We all need to act and act fast. After intense negotiations with the Group of 77 (G-77) and China. We had a common stand in water, biodiversity, energy, and many of the issues. Our time tables were met. Through frankly to others and me they are a little and too late.

Finally, after the summit we went to Capetown and visited the Carmelite Mission in Retreat, Capetown and visited the Carmelite Mission in Retreat, Capetown. Carmel always our home enriches our spirituality and gives us the strength to persevere. Then we saw the Table Mountain before we went to our real Safari at the Bakuhong Game Lodge in Philansburg National Park a four hour drive from Johannesburg. It was there that the Africa I knew in books was alive, that I saw with my own eyes still existed. We would rise early and go on a safari and see elephant�s block our way eating in luxury like they had all the times in the world.

If they only knew? We saw Rhinos, Zebra, Monkeys, Kudus, and many others. Watching the new noon at the horizon as day turned into night and the wildlife of Africa spoke out in there different languages saying Help us. We will not be here for long, they continue to poach and kill us. Even the people are hungry with all the animals around. Why? For greed, power? We do not know, but when Mother Nature calls let us answer her with the message that we hear your cry for help. We will protect and conserve the environment. And all the creatures that live in them.

For you and for the children of generations to come.

Antonio M. Claparols
President - Ecological Society of the Philippines

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IUCN Council Reviews mining and biodiversity initiative

December 12 , 2002
At its December meeting, the IUCN Council fully supported a new dialogue on mining and biodiversity between IUCN and the International Council on Mining and Minerals (ICMM). The terms for a dialogue have not yet been agreed. Council indicated, however, that any dialogue should be on the basis of good faith negotiations by all parties based on existing IUCN policy. Although IUCN has been engaged on issues related to mining for many years, especially safeguarding protected areas, this particular initiative is relatively new. It was first announced as a "partnership" at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Council felt that it was more accurate to refer to it as a "dialogue", given that it is a preliminary stage and that the term "partnership" had been incorrectly misconstrued at the time of the announcement at the WSSD.
Full letter from the President

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International Union for the Conservation of Nature Statement

Statement of IUCN - The World Conservation Union At the Second Meeting of the Open- Ended Inter-Governmental Group of Ministers or their Representatives on International Environmental Governance, Bonn, 17 July, 2001

Remarks on Behalf of Achim Steiner
Director General
IUCN - The World Conservation Union

Bonn, Germany, 17 July, 2001 (IUCN)

Madame Chair, Mr. Executive Director, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Thank you the opportunity to participate in this very important meeting. It is an honor for IUCN to be able to participate and to make a statement here today.

IUCN looks forward to collaborating with each of you and in particular to continue our support of and collaboration with UNEP in its efforts on this matter. IUCN strongly endorses the effort to strengthen UNEP and the international environmental architecture, while at the same time promoting environmental governance at the national and local levels, which we see as being inextricably linked. We also see a strong system of environmental governance as critical to broader goals of sustainable development.

IUCN wishes to emphasise in this context that it stands ready to energise its extensive network to carry the message of this meeting forward. IUCN notes that its membership includes many of the governments present here today, along with almost 800 NGOs, and a network of scientists and policy makers that number close to 10,000. With this network, including its regional and country offices based mostly in developing countries, and tied together both through newsletter and electronic communication, we wish to help disseminate the message of this meeting and to inform and educate the interested public about these issues.

As part of our work to assist UNEP in the area of global environmental governance, we recently convened a meeting of experts on this topic, along with Yale University. This meeting took place at IUCN Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, and the report of the meeting is set forth below:

IUCN Report on Global Environmental Governance Workshop, 20-22 June, 2001 Gland, Switzerland

Nearly 40 international experts in the area of development and environmental law and policy met June 20-22 at IUCN Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, in the fifth in a series of dialogues on global environmental governance convened by the Yale University Center for Environmental Law and Policy. This was the first such meeting cosponsored by IUCN. Participants came from government agencies, intergovernmental bodies, NGOs, the private sector, and academia.

This meeting took place in the backdrop of the ongoing international environmental governance review of UNEP and the preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This type of meeting it is hoped will be seen as a complementary input to the official processes. One of the themes of the meeting in the importance of drawing on public policy network processes such as this meeting to reinforce official processes.

IUCN Director General Achim Steiner opened the meeting by calling on the participants to produce a positive vision of a platform for global public policy inputs, supported by scientific assessments, strategies, and options for reform.

Participants identified as the priority issue the need for the existing international legal instruments and institutions to fulfil the requirements of environmentally sustainable development, including, inter alia, the capacity to: address emerging issues and uncertainties, make connections across sectors and issues while avoiding duplication, develop common frameworks for problem identification, negotiation, monitoring and dispute resolution, and facilitate implementation.

The need for full integration with the broader objectives of sustainable development was stressed as a major concern. Environmental institutions must be able contribute to sustainable development and link to globalisation issues.

Coherent national systems of governance, including as reflecting larger international policy was a recurring theme. There was considerable support for the proposition that "global environmental governance" considerations should not be limited to international institutions. Institutional questions, it was argued, should flow from specific needs and objectives.

The workshop reviewed the elements necessary for effective environmental management at any level of governance, national or international, including:

� Coherence among actors in setting an environmental agenda.
� Common understanding through shared data
� Accountability, including compliance mechanisms, monitoring and assessment.
� Provisions for capacity building for effective governance.
� Measures for conflict management.
� Provisions for effective participation, such as multistakeholder processes, equity in the participation of governments, and public access to authoritative, reliable, and objective data.
� Balance between economic, social, and environmental considerations

There was general support for the principle that environmental problems are best dealt with as close to their origins as possible, but recognizing that higher levels of governance should be invoked where local or national action cannot achieve the necessary results by itself. Some issues that could best to be handled at international or regional levels include performance monitoring of the effectiveness of international instruments and institutions.

The meeting stressed that it was important for environmental institutions to contribute to the broader processes of sustainable development. In this regard, it is not possible for environmental institutions by themselves to achieve sustainable development. International financial institutions and other donors have made some effort to mainstream environmental or sustainable development requirements in their programmes, but with somewhat mixed results. The CSD was intended to provide an appropriate forum to bridge the relationship between environment and development, but it has proved difficult for the CSD to capitalize upon its multistakeholder process to achieve concrete results, and is a subject that requires further consideration, including for the World Summit on Sustainable Development process.

The role of the GEF was also addressed in terms of environmental governance with respect to its own governance, its relationships with conventions, and its role in the future of the international governance system. Given the diversity of views, the roles and functions of GEF are an appropriate topic for further deliberation.

Overall most participants felt that normative processes were generally in place; but processes that link social, economic, and environmental decision-making in a balanced and effective way are missing. In particular, rule making for financial institutions is not effectively harmonised with environmental rule making.

Other key concerns were noted, including that:

� Developing country contributions to convention implementation are not appropriately valued or appreciated. We need to build in more developing country considerations and acknowledge their efforts.
� Developing country concerns should not be marginalized in the process.
� Respect for national sovereignty must be recognised and at the same time, balanced with the need to prevent selective participation by states in international agreements.

Specific steps for further analysis and study recommended in the course of discussions in the workshop included:

1. Focus should be on parallel tracks of incremental improvement in the existing international environmental regime, and exploration of "radical" reform of international instruments and institutions. These parallel processes need to take account of the context of development imperatives and economic realities.
2. To better define what "governance" means, further analytical work should be carried out, complemented by the identification of best practices. Great care should be taken to develop a common vocabulary, and to lay the groundwork for the introduction of concepts.
3. Further work on governance should build upon the existing normative foundations, and identify gaps and missed opportunities in the current system. A good understanding of where governance efforts have failed and why is key to progress.
4. New models should be developed, drawing upon the positive experiences of public policy networks, and innovative multistakeholder processes such as the World Commission on Dams.
5. As a priority, national co-ordination efforts should be supported and strengthened, especially but not only in developing countries.
6. While there were clear limitations to proposals to cluster agreements through a formal negotiation process, independent research could advance the idea on the basis of analysis of disfunctionalities.
7. The conditions for attracting investment, alleviating poverty, and governing effectively have common features. A clear statement of these similarities would be useful in advancing the sustainable development agenda.

IUCN wishes to note that to achieve the goals set forth above, two additional steps are required:

First, that methods of communication must be enhanced so that the information is made transparent and that there is full public participation. To this point, while international environmental governance is of great interest, few people are able to fully share in the dialogue. IUCN therefore offers to collaborate with UNEP and others to help disseminate this information over the IUCN networks, and newsletters.

Second, that a key forum to address progress on international environmental governance is the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development. IUCN is concerned that the WSSD process at this point is unfocussed, and there is a risk that steps are being taken too late to make this process and its summit effective. Thus, IUCN will announce soon the appointment of a Special Advisor on the WSSD, and will concentrate on collaborating with UNEP and others in efforts to make the Summit successful.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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