THE SECRETARIAT OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY EXPANDS IN MONTRÉAL

MONTREAL, June 6, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The Secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) officially announced today that it is expanding its offices in the Montréal World Trade Centre. Located in Québec's metropolis since 1996, this United Nations organization is enhancing its capacity to meet the challenges of the implementation of the Nagoya Biodiversity Compact. At the last meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCBD, attended by more than 18,500 participants representing the 193 parties and their partners, a new biodiversity vision for 2050 and 20 ambitious biodiversity targets known as Aichi targets to be achieved by 2020 were adopted. The Parties also adopted an historical new international treaty called the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization. The Parties also adopted the Kuala Lumpur Nagoya supplementary Protocol to the Cartagena Protocol on liability and redress. The two new instruments are deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization and have been signed by 24 countries three months after their opening for signature.

The inauguration ceremony of the new offices coincided with the celebration of the World Environment Day as well as the convening of the first preparatory meeting for the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol. The ceremony was attended by the representatives of the 193 Parties, the representatives of the diplomatic corps in Montréal, and the Québec's Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay. The ceremony was also attended by the Canadian explorer and movie maker Jean Lemire in his capacity as the United Nations Honorary Ambassador of the Green Wave campaign aimed at engaging the youth and children in protecting life on earth. Mr. Lemire will launch in the fall a new expedition called 1,000 days for the planet as a contribution to the celebration of the 2011-2020 United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.

"At a time of increased challenges facing the Secretariat, it is encouraging to count on enhanced support of our host country. This expansion will allow indeed the Secretariat to be better equipped to assist the 193 parties and their partners to translate the Nagoya Biodiversity Compact into reality. I want therefore to pay tribute to our long term partners namely the Government of Canada, the Ministère des Relations internationales du Québec, the City of Montréal and Montréal International," stated Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

"The presence of the Secretariat here in Montréal, is another demonstration of the leadership of the Government of Québec as a force of attraction for international organizations. The province of Québec is proud to support partnerships that not only enhance progress on issues that are critical to global populations, but also generate significant economic benefits for the province," said Minister Gagnon-Tremblay.

"Advocacy for the conservation of biological diversity has become a major issue at the international level. The presence of a UN organization in Montréal that fights for this vital issue makes our city a benchmark in the field of biodiversity. Our citizens have a reason to be proud.  In recent years, biodiversity has really become a priority for our administration. There is a growing relationship between the SCBD and our Nature Museums, and the recent opening of the Biodiversity Centre at the Botanical Garden further confirms this collaboration." said Gérald Tremblay, Mayor of Montréal.

"The expansion of the Secretariat greatly reinforces Montréal's international status and prestige. Montréal International is especially proud to contribute to the growth of the SCBD in the metropolis, as biological diversity is very important to us. The presence of a large international organization like the SCBD in Greater Montréal also has significant economic spinoffs for the region," said Jacques St-Laurent, President and CEO of Montréal International.

Greater Montréal is currently host to nearly 70 international organizations (IOs). These IOs account for more than $270 million in economic spinoffs annually, as well as generating an estimated 1,500 direct jobs.

About the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. With 193 Parties, the Convention has near universal participation among countries. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is a subsidiary agreement to the Convention. It seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. To date, 159 countries plus the European Union have ratified the Cartagena Protocol. The Secretariat of the Convention and its Cartagena Protocol is located in Montréal. For more information visit: www.cbd.int.

About Montréal International
Montréal International (MI) was created in 1996 as a result of a private/public partnership. Its mission is to contribute to the economic development of metropolitan Montréal and to enhance its international status. Its mandates include attracting foreign investment, international organizations and qualified foreign workers, as well as promoting the competitive and international environment of Greater Montréal. Montréal International is funded by the private sector, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (Montréal Metropolitan Community), the City of Montréal and the Governments of Canada and Québec.

Since its creation, Montréal International has helped to attract more than $8 billion in foreign investment to Greater Montréal. From these investments, close to 45,000 jobs have been created or maintained. To date, MI's activities have also allowed almost half of the 70 international organizations to establish themselves in the city and, attract and retain, close to 5,500 qualified foreign workers. To learn more, please visit MI Web site at: www.montrealinternational.com.

SOURCE MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL

For further information:

Benoît Lefèvre
Communications Advisor
Montréal International Tel.: 514 987-9323
benoit.lefevre@montrealinternational.com

David Ainsworth
Information Officer
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Tel.: 514 561 2720
David.ainsworth@cbd.int

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