I arrived in Kenya on Sunday after a 36-hour journey around the world coming from Quito but it was definitely worth it, says Arturo Mora, Programme Officer from IUCN's Regional Office for South America, member of the IUCN delegation at the conference in Nairobi.
The conference centre is impressive – we are at Kenya’s headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme, with representatives from around 90 countries which, of course, means an impressive mixture of nationalities and cultures. And they are all working together to achieve a common goal - to agree on recommendations for the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan in October. This is really the core of the International Year of Biodiversity, with many crucial issues being discussed here.
Although this meeting is supposed to be focused on science, policy has to be a part of it as well, and this is clearly visible. Different countries have differing positions on many issues but in certain cases they are in agreement. Progress is being made on the conservation of biodiversity in oceans which aren’t under the jurisdiction of individual countries. The discussions on invasive species, protected areas and climate change are also very interesting. One very important issue is that the Parties are looking for a better coordination between the Convention on climate change and the one on biodiversity and this is vital for us to move on. The importance of local communities in conservation is also being emphasized.
So there are many issues where we can see good progress and other issues that are moving rather slowly.
We are in the middle of the International Year of Biodiversity and it appears that the Parties feel more responsibility for the negotiations on conservation. People are finally starting to realize how important biodiversity is and it is being more and more integrated into economic and social policies too. So there is definitely a huge responsibility for the Parties here in Nairobi and great hopes and expectations for the conference in Japan.
This week has been a wonderful experience for me and I’m now looking forward to some time off during the weekend. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing some giraffes: so far I’ve only seen a fake one here in the conference centre. It would be a shame not to see any of Kenya’s amazing wildlife during my stay here. Let’s just hope it finally stops raining!