The Convention on Biological Diversity has new targets for preserving and protecting global biodiversity. The agreement reached by the 193 parties to the convention aims to halve the rate of loss of natural habitats, protect 17 percent of terrestrial and 10 percent of marine ecosystems, and restore 15 percent of degraded environments globally. The new strategic plan aims to meet these goals by 2020. Nations have two years to create an implementation strategy. Parties also agreed to substantially increase financial support to achieve these goals, including a pledge from Japan for $2 billion in financing.
The new conservation goals are not without their critics. As reported by BBC News, the targets “are regarded as too small by many conservation scientists, who point out that about 13% of the land is already protected - while the existing target for oceans is already 10%.” Others are concerned that the new agreement doesn’t do enough to ensure that countries meet the goals; many of the goals from the last conference on the Convention on Biological Diversity were not met.
A historic agreement was also reached regarding the sharing of benefits derived from genetic resources. Developing nations have long accused developed nations of profiting from their genetic resources through the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and other products derived from naturally occurring compounds. The new agreement would allow nations to set terms for benefits sharing in order to allow international access to genetic resources. The benefits sharing agreement is expected to enter into force by 2012.
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