Global Deal to Save Biodiversity a Key Step in Preventing Extinctions

The new global deal to protect nature agreed at the recent Conference of the Parties (COP10) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Japan represents a critical step in slowing the current extinction crisis and ensuring that developing countries and their indigenous traditional peoples benefit from the natural wealth harbored in their forests and oceans, according to Conservation International.

Representatives from 193 governments participating in the CBD in Nagoya for two weeks agreed on a global action plan to prevent the extinction of threatened animals and plants and conserve intact habitats over the next decade. The targets established eight years ago to ‘significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss’ by 2010 were not met at a global level, despite individual progress by some nations, but this new agreement offers more hope and a much more comprehensive plan.

“This conference must be viewed as a success and a major global achievement. We were able to solve the key issues that were blocking the negotiations and ended up with a strategic plan with 20 targets to protect biodiversity over the next decade. Countries were able to come together as a global community and look beyond their national agendas to focus on the future of life on earth and its essential role in human development and poverty alleviation. We were optimistic from the beginning and are happy with the end result,” says Russ Mittermeier, president of Conservation International.

He adds: “This agreement comes at a critical time as the pressures on the environment are growing fast and the responses have been too weak. It is especially timely in light of the UN climate talks in Cancun coming up in a month, and many of the countries at the CBD highlighted the needed for greater collaboration between these two conventions.”

In particular, Conservation International is pleased with the target to increase protected areas coverage by 2020 — 17% of the land surface of the planet and 10% of the marine realm. Protected areas are the most effective tool available to us to protect biodiversity.

The agreement on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), which was one of the most contentious points of this summit, was also a remarkable achievement for developing countries and has been a contentious issue since the earliest days of the Convention in 1993.

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