The connection between international relations and biodiversity can be linked to the evolution of both as globalization does too, which have brought among others, the increasing in international trade throughout last years. It's a fact that countries experience economic interdependence and that it is not equally shared; usually North developed countries demand raw materials or natural resources at low prices to produce goods, which later are going to be sell to southern or developing countries at higher prices; due to that southern countries are forced themselves to exploit their resources at the point that there is space for extinction rates and for biodiversity to decrease.
The economic interdependence that countries are experiencing nowadays have caused high loss of biodiversity not only in flora, because of the high rates of deforestation, but also in fauna, as people even more are destroying habitats and exploiting at high levels the benefits that they could take from animals. All of that is part of an evidence to say that international relations and biodiversity are connected and also we can say that the first one can define the course of the last one; as international relations evolve, biodiversity may decrease.
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This is seem as a problem as international relations increase, globalization and international trade does too, and because of that, southern or commonly named developing countries which have around 20% of the world's total biodiversity, have to exploit their natural resources, causing massive losses of species.
Biodiversity is an important political issue because it depends on the relations among the most powerful economies in the world, which determines the levels of use or abuse on the natural resources available in the planet. Nowadays we are talking of interdependent capitalistic economies competing in the international arena, usually the most powerful developed countries influencing the decisions of not so developed ones. All of those changes in the world's reality have generated changes in biodiversity too; the fact that specialization has increased as international trade does, developing countries have chosen to exploit their natural resources in order to supply developed countries the raw material they need for their manufactured goods. That in order to developing countries to expand their economies at any price, most of the times without having conscience of the consequences it might bring to the environment, even if they have that conscience, they doesn't have the economic resources to implement sustainable processes that let them exploit natural resources in a reasonable way, causing that way less extinctions or more losses on biodiversity.
Reducing the rate of global biodiversity loss depends on the well management of the protected areas in the world, which represents only around the 10% of the worlds surface, which includes zones that were supposedly to be protected but in the daily use it result not be that way. The efforts of developing countries to conserve this zones usually seem to be compromise because of the bad manage they give to the financial aid, that they receive from some developed countries. It's common to find that those financial aids even if they represent some regulations and commitments, are often used in other issues or even fall in hands of corruption which in common in those developing countries. The problem for developed countries to create that kind of zones is that usually they don't have the space or they don't have the flora and fauna to protect. The issue from all of the above if that the protection from excessive use is not feasible as those natural resources represent an important part of the country's economy. So the solution is to use biodiversity but in a moderate way, creating protected areas and providing other options for local users.
Some effective policies of protection for those areas don't need many economic resources, it's enough to increase the surveillance and enforcing rules on those protected areas. But often that enforcement is not enough because the local users usually don't know where the limits are and the penalties they would receive for breaking the rules. One important element that can be useful is to create local conscience and also adapting local constituency and effective enforcement.
Susanne Kleeman says in her article "voices for biodiversity management in the 21st century" that biodiversity management pays inadequate attention to the importance of governing institution, even if they are rules. Laws and policies are more likely to promote sustainable use and conservation of resources with the incorporation of institutions. Three factors are important for a successful conservation program: incorporating local values, ensuring consistency or rules and maintaining adequate enforcement.
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Due to the process of globalization, extinction rates are increasing worldwide because global warming and other human caused events; which is a reflection of the massive damage of the political and economic system has been causing. Many countries in the world promote free trade and globalization without taking care of the consequences or environmental effects, but without sustainable development policies; if it still going that way extensive trade and all that it brings into a country is going to end with all of the natural resources.
In order to contribute to solve some of the environmental problems caused by international relations there's a need to create a new multilateral diplomacy because, as said by Hill, J in his article "A new diplomacy for sustainable development; the challenge of global change", the environmental problems and the plans for their mitigations transcend political boundaries. So that way, countries can get into negotiations to integrate long-term perspectives in international policy more in a diplomatic environment that concerns about sustainability, cooperation and threats to the environment. This new way of diplomacy has already begun, first with the UN conference on the human environment in Stockholm in 1972, the with the Rio-Johannesburg process in 2002 and annual meetings and summits that have been realized to creating conscience and finding for solutions for more environmental friendly processes that can contribute with the global warming, which is a long term threat.
Another important international actor additional to the multilateral diplomacy, are NGO's that have proven to be a very important actor when dealing with issues that have no frontiers such as environmental and biodiversity issues. That's one of the most important reasons why NGOs must work together on redesigning the world order and put biodiversity and natural resources as hot topics on the international agenda and also in the political agenda of each country. Many international forums are opened for discussing biodiversity, in which the actors are competing to define priorities and choose the best tools for management of genetic resources, which nowadays have been one of the most important inputs of world economies because those are the raw materials of biotechnology companies.
Two international agreements have emerged because of the lack of environmental regulations that is causing the extinction of those resources: the TRIPS and CBD convention on biological diversity. As coban said in his "caught between state sovereign rights and properly rights: regulating biodiversity" Both consider the problem of regulating to biological resources as an issue related to the capitalist relations but the difference is that the second one is a convention that seeks to protect the environment affirming that biological diversity is subject of national sovereignty, while the former one regulates biotechnology patents worldwide. The TRIPS states that intellectual property rights of corporations over genetic or biological resources are complementary in the process of capital accumulation, while CBD has been an effective awareness-raising tool. The CBD was adopted in 1992 during the Rio Summit and it recognizes the need to take action in the environmental issues, integrating the principles of equity and ethics in the use of biodiversity and also establishes that biological diversity is subject to national sovereignty; this convention has been ratified in 177 states and start its activities in 1993, focusing on the genetic resources and the access to them, technology transfers, financing of conservation policies and trade in genetically modifies organisms. One of the most important contributions of this convention is the fact that poor countries can't commit to preserve biodiversity unless developed ones provide them with technologies and financial aid, due to the use of processes that reduce abuses into the environment. This financial aid has been declining, and the international institutions and organizations that promote the protection of biodiversity has not proven to be an effective regulative framework.
Nowadays international agreements are not the only involved, the private sector somehow seem to be more in favor of that sustainable development. International business coalitions also play a role in interactions between environmental regulations and private sector interests. Mainly there are 2 coalitions directly related to environmental issues, the international chamber of commerce and the global industry coalition. The former deals with biodiversity governance and environmental policies, and the latter have to do with biosafety negotiations; both of them have space in the international arena and the power to help biodiversity abuses to diminish at the international level.
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For international treaties and policies to work correctly, there has to be a support at the national level. Local governments have to share and implement the ideas that international treaties, policies, conventions, NGOs and other actors promote. As stated by Susanne Kleeman, biodiversity governance needs to be adapted to local conditions but aligned with global, regional and national frameworks and it calls for vertical linkages adapted to local conditions. The national government has to agree with the international politics in order to create some consistency and to share the same objectives.
In conclusion, biodiversity and international relations have important connections because as more capitalistic becomes the world, natural resources are going to be exploited at much in order to satisfy the needs of trade of the developed countries. And in the other hand in order to survive economically and improve their status and living standards, developing countries would still abuse of the biodiversity with the objective of selling raw materials for the production of manufactured goods. If good conservation policies and treaties are not implemented, much of the diversity and natural resources we have probably will disappear, and after that there's not much to do. Finally unless environmental issues become central part in the international agenda, the world will suffer dramatic changes.