From: Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real, More from this Affiliate
Published October 10, 2012 05:40 AM

Global Conference Discusses Biodiversity Loss

Representatives from more than 170 countries are meeting in Hyderabad, India this week to discuss progress, problems and challenges in implementing the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), one of three historic international environmental agreements produced at the UN Earth Summit on environment and development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.


All 193 UN member governments have signed and ratified the CBD, meaning they're a party to it. As stated in the convention, the objectives of the CBD "are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding."

This year's Conference of the Parties (COP 11) is the eleventh since the CBD went into effect in 1993. It's meant to advance the cause of protecting the biodiversity in a period of time in Earth history that's been dubbed "The Sixth Extinction Crisis."

Of the estimated 13-14 million species of life on Earth, just 1.9 million have been described. Human activities have been the dominant culprit in driving species, genetic and ecosystem extinction to a rate 1,000-10,000 times higher than expected "background" natural extinction rate. Scientists estimate that the survival of one in eight bird species, one-quarter of all mammal species, one-third of the planet's amphibians and one in two of all species of tortoises and freshwater turtles is now threatened with extinction. Marine fish stocks are being decimated sequentially by commercial fishing.

At COP 11 in Hyderabad, CBD member governments are seeking to build on a historic "Strategic Plan for Biodiversity" and two new supplementary CBD protocols—guidelines for action—agreed to at CBD COP 10 in Nagoya, Japan in 2010 that aim to halt biodiversity loss by the end of the decade. In keeping with that pledge, the UN has declared the decade from 2011-2020 "The International Decade of Biodiversity."

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United Nations table image via Shutterstock.

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