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Agreement reached at biodiversity summit

Delegates meeting in Nagoya, Japan, at the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) today agreed to take new steps to halt the global decline of biodiversity.

Representatives from 193 governments participating in the CBD agreed to 20 objectives for 2020, including a zero tolerance target for species extinction; a goal to protect 17 percent of all inland water and terrestrial areas, and 10 percent of marine areas; restoration of 15 percent of degraded ecosystems; and reducing habitat loss by at least 50 percent.

The agreement comes after countries failed to meet many of the 2010 global targets for CBD.

Anisocelis flavolineata, an orange, black, yellow, and red flag footed bug in Colombia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler in 2010

“This conference must be viewed as a success and a major global achievement,” said Russ Mittermeier, President of Conservation International, in a statement. “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.

Some participants say Japan’s announcement that it would commit $2 billion in funding toward biodiversity helped reenergize the talks, which had stalled over targets and rights over genetic resources.

In the end, the conference produced the agreement on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), which aims to stop biopiracy and reward countries for genetic resources.

“I won’t say it’s a miracle that we achieved this agreement, but it is surely historic,” said Mittermeier.

Eupholus bennetti, a type of weevil, in West Papua, Indonesia on the island of New Guinea. Photo by Rhett A. Butler in 2010

The agreement also named water as a particularly important ecosystem service—a recognition that should lead to better protection of wetlands, rivers, and forests—and established controls on geoengineering.

“No climate-related geo-engineering activities that may affect biodiversity take place, until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities and appropriate consideration of the associated risks for the environment and biodiversity and associated social, economic and cultural impacts, with the exception of small-scale scientific research studies,” stated the geoengineering measure adopted under the CBD.

High-level negotiations will begin again next month with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

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