Technology & Science

Biodiversity pact reached at UN conference

Participants at a United Nations conference say representatives have reached agreements to protect at least 17 per cent of land areas and 10 per cent of oceans by 2020.

Participants at a United Nations conference say representatives have reached agreements to protect at least 17 per cent of land areas and 10 per cent of oceans by 2020.

Overcoming divisions between rich and poor countries, delegates to the 10th meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity also agreed on a system to share access to and the benefits of genetic resources — a key sticking point.

The agreements were reached in the early hours Saturday morning in Nagoya, southwest of Tokyo, after hours of debate in the final session of two weeks of talks.

This year's participants, including Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice, set less ambitious goals after admitting failure on a previous biodiversity target.

The Convention on Biological Diversity was created in 1992 with the goal of preserving the planet's biodiversity. In 2002, the parties to the convention set themselves what seemed like an equally simple goal: reduce the rate of species extinction by 2010.

But the convention's 2010 Global Biodiversity Outlook stated simply that that goal has not been met.

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