Nations lag on commitment to slow extinction
September 29th 2012
Many nations need to do more to slow extinctions of animals and plants under U.N. targets for 2020 that would also save the world economy billions of dollars a year, U.N. experts say.
Only a few countries — including France and Guatemala — have so far adopted new national plans to tackle threats such as pollution or climate change in line with a sweeping pact agreed in Japan in 2010.
“There is a lot more to do,” David Cooper, head of the scientific, technical and technological unit at the Secretariat of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal, told Reuters by phone.
Almost 200 nations will meet in Hyderabad, India, from October 8-19 to review progress towards goals to protect life on earth that U.N. reports say is suffering the biggest wave of extinctions since the dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago.
Governments agreed in 2010 to 20 targets including phasing out damaging subsidies and expanding protected areas, for instance to save valuable coral reefs that are nurseries for fish or to slow deforestation from the Congo to the Amazon.
“There is substantial progress. Is it fast enough to achieve the targets by 2020 for most of them? Probably not overall,” Cooper said. Biodiversity is threatened by a projected rise in the human population to 9 billion by 2050 from 7 billion now.
So far, 92 nations have signed the Nagoya Protocol but just six have ratified, well short of the 50 needed for it to gain legal force. The target is for the protocol to be up and running by 2015.
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