Conservation Minister to visit UK and Egypt

  • Hon Eugenie Sage

Conservation and Associate Environment Minister, Eugenie Sage leaves today to attend events in the United Kingdom before travelling to Egypt for a key international biodiversity meeting.

Eugenie Sage will spend two days in England during which she will meet Dr Thérèse Coffey, MP and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

She will also give a speech on the Commonwealth Blue Charter and ocean acidification to the Royal Academy. For Armistice Day centenary commemorations she will attend a wreath laying at the New Zealand War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner as well as the National Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey.

Eugenie Sage will join other political leaders to discuss global biodiversity in Egypt on 14 and 15 November at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) High Level Segment in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

“New Zealand’s unique indigenous plants and wildlife and ecosystems underpin our success as a country. This gives us a strong voice globally to advocate for greater recognition of the importance of biodiversity and protection of natural ecosystems,” Eugenie Sage said.

“I will add New Zealand’s perspective to discussions between political leaders on the process and issues to consider in developing a new global framework for biodiversity.

“We have a global biodiversity crisis. Too many species are threatened with extinction and the condition of natural habitats and ecosystems is declining, impacting on the diversity and abundance of life on Earth and human wellbeing.

“Over the next two years, CBD Parties will negotiate new global biodiversity targets.  We need to be ambitious with this new framework, which will guide international action to halt biodiversity decline.

“This is a timely conference to attend given that New Zealand has started to develop a new national biodiversity strategy.

“With many of New Zealand’s native plants and wildlife found nowhere else in the world, we have an international responsibility to safeguard them for their own sake, and for present and future generations,” Eugenie Sage said.

While in Egypt, Eugenie Sage will meet with Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Climate Change, Sean Fraser, to discuss waste management issues such as ensuring producers take responsibility for products across their life cycle.

Other meetings are scheduled with Cristiana Pașca Palmer, the Executive Director of the CBD, Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and Eric Solheim, Director General of the UN Environment Programme, as well as her counterparts from Egypt, Samoa, China and the European Commission.  These discussions will focus on what more can be done to tackle challenges to global biodiversity.

Eugenie Sage will also visit Vancouver and meet the Hon George Heyman, British Columbia’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. While in the city she will be briefed about the Green Vancouver Initiative and in particular Vancouver’s Zero Waste 2040 Strategy. Vancouver has set a goal to become the greenest city in the world by 2020.

Background information

Convention on Biological Diversity

Adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the CBD recognised, for the first time in international law, that the conservation of biological diversity is “a common concern of humankind”.

The convention has three main goals:

  • conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity)
  • sustainable use of its components
  • fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources

The CBD Strategic Plan and global Aichi Biodiversity Targets are due to be replaced in 2020. The Conference of Parties immediately after the High Level Segment will discuss the process that will be used to determine what will succeed the plan and targets.

The process to negotiate the new framework will take place over the next two years.  It will be agreed at the next Conference of Parties in Beijing in 2020. The process will involve significant negotiation between countries, as well as input by indigenous peoples, the private sector, scientists, academics and the public. 

Canada’s vision for waste management

In 2014 Canada’s environment ministers adopted a vision for waste: Canada is a world leader in waste management.

The outcomes they set included:

  • Canada’s record on reducing and recycling waste is improved
  • Consumer, municipal and industry awareness of and support for waste reduction and recycling is increased
  • Costs are shifted from taxpayers to producers
  • Waste is seen as valuable resource: the economic benefit from recycling is optimized and the economic burden of waste to landfill is minimised.

The City of Vancouver’s Zero Waste 2040 Strategic Plan

Zero Waste 2040 is a long-term strategic vision for Vancouver to achieve the goal of zero waste by 2040.

As part of this strategic plan, the city has made commitments to:

  • Conserve resources
  • Prevent waste of all types, including wasted food at all points between farm and table
  • Compost inedible food or convert it into fuel
  • Repair and maintain products and materials to extend their lives
  • Share, reuse, and refurbish products and materials before recycling them