Wednesday, October 20, 2010

UN Calls to Reverse Man-Made Extinction

The following article was posted by Melissa Breyer (Oct 18, 2010)

The world must act now to prevent the rapid loss of animal and plant species that allow humans to exist, warned the UN at the beginning of the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) today.

Delegates from the 193 members of the CBD are meeting in the Japanese city of Nagoya to strategize on how to prevent a man-made mass extinction. Experts now warn that the planet faces its sixth mass extinction phase; the latest since dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago

“The time to act is now and the place to act is here,” CBD executive secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf said as the meeting opened, describing the 12-day event as a “defining moment” in the history of mankind. “Business as usual is no more an option when it comes to life on Earth.”

Delegates were told that the impact of expanding human population is destroying ecosystems such as tropical forests and coral reefs, killing off animal and plant species that form the ecostystem which humanity depends on. The Earth’s 6.8 billion humans are effectively living 50 percent beyond the planet’s biocapacity in 2007, according to a new assessment by WWF that said by 2030 humans will require the resources of two Earths.

At the start of the decade, UN members pledged under the Millennium Development Goals to achieve “a significant reduction” in the rate of wildlife loss by this year, the International Year of Biodiversity. Instead, habitat destruction has run rampant. Nearly a quarter of mammals, one third of amphibians, more than one in eight birds, and more than a fifth of plant species now face the threat of extinction, said the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The CBD entered into force in December of 1993 with these 3 main objectives:

• The conservation of biological diversity
• The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
• The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources [For example, plants or animals that have been used by indigenous groups and have commercial use such as in the pharmaceutical industry.]

Delegates in Nagoya plan to set a new target for 2020 for curbing species loss, and will discuss boosting medium-term financial help for poor countries to help them protect their wildlife and habitats.

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