Biodiversity Pact Signed To Halt Species Extinctions and Protect the Web of Life

By Stephen Leahy*

NAGOYA, Japan, Oct 31, 2010 (Tierramérica)

The delegates to the 10th Conference of Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity ended up with a relatively weak plan for the Herculean task of halting the disappearance of species. The exception was a pact on the use of genetic resources.

Delegates from 193 countries agreed to put under protection 17 percent of land and 10 percent of oceans by 2020 to stop the loss of plant and animal diversity in their ecosystems.

Currently less than 10 percent of land and less than one percent of the oceans are protected. Previous targets had been 25 and 15 percent, respectively

But among the items agreed was the “Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilisation,” the most notable achievement of COP 10 — which had been in negotiations for 18 years.

The Nagoya Protocol establishes mechanisms for making use of the genetic material in plants, animals and microbes for food, medicines, industrial products, cosmetics and other applications.

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