Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Newsy: U.N. Convention Confronts Loss of Biodiversity

The U.N.'s Convention on Biological Diversity kicked off Monday in Tokyo. Representatives from more than 190 nations aim to preserve species facing extinction.

“For this international year of biodiversity. I call on every country and each citizen of our planet to join together in a global alliance to protect life on earth.”(United Nations)

The world is losing life according to the U.N.’s Convention on Biological Diversity, which opened on Monday. Japan is hosting this year’s convention, the 10th meeting since the first in 1994, and those in attendance say the next decade is critical. Fox News quotes Japanese Environment Minister Ryu Matsumoto: "We are nearing a tipping point, or the point of no return for biodiversity loss."

ABC Australia’s Lateline says Earth could be losing up to 200 species a day. Lateline spoke with Executive Secretary of the convention Ahmed Djoghlaf about its goals.

AHMED DJOGHLAF: “We are shaping what we call the next biodiversity strategy for the 10 years to come. And these strategies need to be owned, not only by the civil servant and the high official, it will be owned by those who have the responsibility to implement it.”

But others are asking -- who will pay to protect the planet? A U.N.-funded study claims global environmental damage caused by humans totaled $6.6 trillion in 2008, with poorer nations being hurt most. TIME blogger Bryan Walsh isn’t sure that a good financing solution can be found: “I'm skeptical—the experience of climate change negotiations have shown that the nations of the world are great at high ideals and fuzzy goals, but not so hot at actually dividing up the pie in a more sustainable fashion.”

Japan’s The Daily Yomiuri reminds readers -- the convention on biological diversity does not have a great track record of completing its goals: “The 6th COP meeting in 2002 set a target of significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, but both scientists and signatories agree this goal has not been met.”

The 193 members of the convention will meet for 12 days to try to curb what is the highest rate of extinction seen since the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago.

Writer: Paul Rolfe

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