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UN draft plan to protect animals, plants by 2020

Oslo, September 22, 2010

A UN summit on Wednesday will consider new 2020 targets for combating the increasing extinction of animals and plants caused by threats such as pollution, climate change and forest clearance.

The United Nations says the world has failed to reach a goal, set in 2002, of a 'significant reduction' in biodiversity losses by 2010. Some UN studies say the world is facing the worst losses since the dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago. And a quickening pace of extinctions could disrupt food and water supplies for a rising human population.

The world leaders' meeting on biodiversity at UN headquarters in New York, at the end of a three-day summit, is a prelude to UN talks in Japan in October due to agree a formal 20-point plan to protect biodiversity by 2020.

Following are details of the draft plan:

Some nations, such as those in the European Union, want to set a 2020 deadline 'to halt the loss of biodiversity', a target many experts say is out of reach. Poor countries say such a goal would require a 100-fold increase in funds for safeguarding biodiversity, currently about $3 billion a year. An alternative is to set no firm deadline, merely talking of action by 2020 'towards halting' loss of plant and animal species.

Nations agree on a 2020 deadline for reducing pressures on biodiversity and to avoid irreversible 'tipping points', such as an acidification of the oceans that would make it hard for creatures such as crabs or oysters to build their shells.

20-point plan:

1) Make people aware of biodiversity and what they can do    
2) Ensure that the values of biodiversity are integrated into development plans, perhaps into national accounts
3) Eliminate, phase out or reform incentives - perhaps including subsidies - harmful to biodiversity
4) Ensure sustainable production and consumption
5) The rate of loss and degradation of natural habitats is either 'at least halved' or 'brought close to zero'
6) Improve management of fish stocks, shifting to sustainable harvests. Some nations want references to 'ending overfishing' and to 'restoring' stocks
7) Manage agriculture, aquaculture and forestry sustainably
8) Cut pollution to levels that do not damage nature
9) Control or eradicate invasive alien species
10) By 2020 or 2015, minimise pressures on coral reefs and other ecosystems hit by climate change and ocean acidification 11) Conserve at 'least 15 per cent' or 'at least 20 per cent' of land areas and a yet-to-be-decided percentage of coastal and marine areas
12) Prevent extinction and decline of known threatened species and improve their conservation status
13) Halt the loss of genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farm animals, set new strategies for safeguarding genetic diversity of other important species
14) Safeguard and restore ecosystems vital for health, livelihoods and well-being, ensure fair access for all
15) Make ecosystems more resilient - including by restoring at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems. This will help store carbon dioxide in plants and slow desertification
16) Ensure fair 'access and benefit sharing' of genetic resources. This would set guidelines to allow pharmaceutical companies, for instance, to use plants in the Amazon in return for sharing benefits with local indigenous peoples. Some nations want a linked fund to help developing nations
17) All countries should adopt a 'national biodiversity strategy and action plan'
18) Promote ways to tap traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities relevant to protecting biodiversity
19) Improve and apply biodiversity knowledge, science and technologies
20) Improve capacity for carrying out biodiversity goals. Some countries want a tenfold increase in funds-Reuters




Tags: Environment | biodiversity | UN summit |

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