Biodiversity / Indigenous Breeds

To be or not to be: The fate of a whole lot of species hangs in the balance today

Lung Pu, an indigenous breed of black pig in northern Viet Nam

The Lung Pu is an indigenous black pig of northern Viet Nam; this one is maintained on a biodiversity farm near the northern town of Meo Vac (photo credit: ILRI/Mann).

From Agence France-Presse comes this cliffhanger of a news report today (20 October 2010), the final day of a 12-day United Nations summit on biodiversity.

‘United Nations talks on an ambitious pact to protect the world’s ecosystems hinged on last-ditch efforts by rich and poor nations to broker a deal over resources derived from places such as the Amazon.

‘The meeting in the central Japanese city of Nagoya is meant to produce a roadmap of 20 key goals to be achieved over the next decade to contain man’s destruction of nature and save the world’s rapidly diminishing biodiversity.

‘Delegates from more than 190 countries have agreed to most of those goals. But a dispute over “fairly sharing” genetic resources—taken mostly from developing countries such as Brazil—has yet to be resolved. Hopes were high on Thursday that the contentious issue had been resolved, but talks broke down in the evening and negotiators were forced into another round of meetings on Friday . . . .

‘Delegates have said the dispute over genetic resources had held up negotiations on the proposed 20-point plan to protect ecosystems. That plan would commit countries to curbing pollution, setting aside areas of land and water for conservation, protecting coral reefs and ending so-called “perverse subsidies” for environmentally destructive industries. If the Nagoya summit ends with no meaningful commitment, it would leave the United Nations open to more criticism about its ability to solve the planet’s most pressing environmental problems.

‘A UN summit in Copenhagen last year was heavily criticised after world leaders failed to broker a binding deal to combat global warming. . . .

‘The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warned last year the world faced its sixth mass extinction phase, the last being 65 million years ago when dinosaurs vanished.

‘Nearly a quarter of mammals, one-third of amphibians and more than a fifth of plant species now face the threat of extinction, according to the IUCN. And with the world’s human population expected to rise from 6.8 billion to nine billion by 2050, the UN, scientists and environment groups say humans must become better guardians of the environment or face catastrophe.’

Read the whole news story at Agence France Presse: Tensions high on final day of UN biodiversity talks, 29 October 2010.

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