UN biodiversity plan: neoliberal measures to commodify nature

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Acción Ecológica is gathering signatures for this letter, in advance of the Global Dialogue Seminar on Scaling up Finance for Biodiversity, to be held in Quito, Ecuador, March 6-9


Open letter to the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the governments of Japan, India, Norway, Sweden and Ecuador

On 6 to 9 March 2012 the Global Dialogue Seminar on Scaling Up Finance for Biodiversity, co-hosted by the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Governments of Ecuador, India, Japan, Norway and Sweden, will be held in Quito, Ecuador with the aim of exploring financial mechanisms and resources for biodiversity.

This is part of an agreement among the signatory countries to the Convention on Biological Diversity to mobilize financing to facilitate implementation of a strategic plan and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, in which Strategic Goal D aims to enhance the benefits from biodiversity as a commodity and from environmental services. The meeting in Quito is one more step in this direction.

In the midst of the current environmental, financial and economic crisis, biodiversity has gained enormous importance because of the role it can play for the “green economy”, which will be consolidated through the agreements reached at the upcoming Rio+20 summit.

This economic proposal is nothing more than a new face for capitalism, through which biodiversity, water, soils, biogeochemical cycles, photosynthesis, and all the other functions and structures of nature can be converted into commodities.

Forming part of this process are the false solutions to climate change such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and so-called TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity). A tangled web of proposals that essentially seek control over land, forests, water and biodiversity as means to compensate for the loss of biodiversity or as raw materials for new technologies.

In practice, they promote the implementation of neoliberal measures to address the climate problem, biodiversity management and protection of forests. They extol the paradigm that the solution lies in the market, in property rights, in the proper assignment of prices and the commodification of all of nature, traditional knowledge and cultures associated with it, to the detriment of justice, sovereignty and respect for human rights and the rights of nature.

At the meeting in Quito, as well as during the run-up to Rio+20 and at the CBD COP-11 in India, steps will be taken to define the financial instruments, policies and public-private partnerships needed to achieve the biggest land grab and trampling of people’s rights ever seen in the history of humanity. Due to the scale and sphere of action, what is proposed will have devastating effects on territories and rights.

Just as the Green Climate Fund is aimed at promoting market mechanisms to ineffectively confront the climate crisis, financing for biodiversity is being diverted towards means of privatization and control of biodiversity.

With the same discourses of poverty relief, conservation and sustainability that have benefited the industrial, military and financial sectors, they are once again trying to convince us that the “green economy”, promoted by the same actors, is the solution.

In view of this situation, we the undersigned organizations, networks and social movements urge the governments hosting the meeting in Quito to stop the commodification of nature; likewise, we call on the participants in the meeting to prevent the further advance of the green economy that is being hatched and to act instead in line with models of society that differ from the capitalist system and are built on the principles of community and on relationships with nature based on the protection of life.


To sign on to the letter please write to:
with a copy to:

1 Comment

  • Here are a few Quotes from Albert Einstein:

    + Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    + We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
    + Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.
    + Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

    These quotes capture perfectly what I think about the neo-liberal ‘Green Economy’ project.