The ‘Dodo Awards’ are perhaps akin to the ignominous (Ig) nobel prizes in the field of conserving biodiversity.

The winners this year are Canada and the UK. In a show that attracted attention, the CBD Alliance, a loose network of activists and representatives of NGOs, social movements and indigenous people’s organisations, announced the award winners.China, Brazil and Paraguay were declared runner up.

The ‘Dodo Awards’, are conferred on those governments, who have failed to evolve, and whose actions at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are contributing to, rather than preventing, biodiversity loss, the Alliance members told newspersons at the ongoing global summit. Dodo is a bird that has gone extinct. It has contributed to the phrase, as dead as a dodo. Canada is the clear leader, for breaching the moratorium on ocean fertilisation and geo-engineering adopted by the CBD in 2008 and 2010, said Silvia Ribero of the ETC Group.

Canada was also selected for its strong stance on biofuels. The country insisted that the CBD is not the place to discuss food security, and so the impacts of biofuel expansion on food should not be considered, said Helena Paul of EcoNexus.

The UK on the other hand is busy behind the scenes blocking attempts in the EU and the CBD to adopt a precautionary approach to synthetic biology, and establish or maintain moratoria, she said. The UK Government is busy commodifying biodiversity and the functions of ecosystems by developing biodiversity offsets.

Does the UK hope that biodiversity offsets and other financial mechanisms will replace the financial commitments that industrialised countries urgently need to make to the global effort to stem biodiversity loss?, the Alliance members questioned.

somasekhar.m@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 17, 2012)
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