Forest groups welcome call to review biofuel subsidies
The Conference, which ended today in Hyderabad, recognized that incentive measures can be significant drivers of biofuels expansion, and invited countries to evaluate them using the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, agreed upon by the Parties to the CBD in 2010. Aichi Target 3 states:
"By 2020, at the latest, incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimize or avoid negative impacts..."
The Hyderabad Conference also adopted a decision on incentive measures in general, which "Emphasizes that conducting studies for the identification of incentives, including subsidies, harmful for biodiversity need not delay immediate policy action in cases where candidates for elimination, phase out or reform are already known".... And "encourages Parties ... to take appropriate action in these cases, in form of elimination or initiation of phase out or reform, taking into account national socio-economic conditions...."
Dr. Rachel Smolker of Biofuelwatch, which acts as the European focal point to the Global Forest Coalition comments: "These recommendations by the world' leading intergovernmental body in the field of biodiversity are very timely now that the European Commission just this week launched proposals for a review of EU biofuel policies."
"The EC proposals are only a first step towards recognizing that all incentive measures that promote biofuel production should be abolished in clear evidence of their devastating direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity, and on the Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women," adds Helena Paul of Econexus. "We hope these recommendations of the Parties to the Biodiversity Convention will encourage the EU to abolish support for large-scale industrial bioenergy altogether, and that they will not allow threats of legal action from the biofuel industry to deter them."
Simone Lovera, executive director of the Global Forest Coalition highlights: "While the recommendations of the Biodiversity Conference on these and other issues are weaker than we would have wanted, they still show that governments are genuinely concerned about the impacts of the so-called bioeconomy, and associated new technologies like synthetic biology, and that many southern governments, in particular, insist on a strict precautionary approach to avoid the potentially devastating risks of with these new and unproven technologies."
 Global Forest Coalition is a coalition of 54 NGOs and Indigenous peoples' organizations from 39 countries striving for rights-based, socially just forest policies. See http://www.globalforestcoalition.org
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