From: WWF
Published June 2, 2008 08:41 AM

UN 2010 biodiversity target in the balance

The biggest ever United Nations conference held to tackle worldwide biodiversity loss closed today without producing a clear roadmap to achieve the 2010 target to substantially reduce biodiversity loss, WWF said.

The 9th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP9) held in Bonn, covering 191 countries and nearly 7000 participants, needed to achieve significant progress and to provide the necessary impetus for countries to implement biodiversity conservation measures and turn round the rate of biodiversity loss worldwide.

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WWF published a report at the start of the conference that showed a drop in species populations of about 30% over the last 30 years, and the slow pace of negotiations and the lack of ambition have led to an inadequate outcome.

"WWF welcomes progress on the long neglected need for High Seas Marine protected areas, on the recommitment to planning conservation at a broad landscape level and on strengthening links to the climate convention," said Gordon Shepherd, WWF International's Director of Global Policy. “We are also pleased to see a road map for negotiating an agreement on Access and Benefit Sharing by 2010 that should provide future funding for conservation and support to local communities.”

On the margins of the conference, WWF applauds the initiatives of several states to take ambitious steps to fund conservation and protect their landscapes. Among these are the announcement of the German government to provide 500 million Euros for forest protection, the increase of protected area programmes by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazil, and the commitment of over 60 countries to support the WWF initiative to stop zero net deforestation by 2020, a target WWF is strongly advocating should be officially adopted by the CBD.

However, there are a host of other areas where WWF is far from happy with the progress made. For example, the failure to adopt clear targets and timelines on issues as wide-ranging as financing and loss of rainforest biodiversity. The convention has not been able to tackle illegal logging and governments have not put in place adequate restrictions on the use of genetically modified trees.

WWF believes global biodiversity and the benefits it provides to all humankind can only be achieved as part of an integrated approach to solutions which reflect the size of the problem at hand. The German Government has undertaken to move the conservation agenda forward over the next two years so that the next COP in Japan will deliver results better suited to the size of the problem.

“All too often I have watched as discussions run way past their cut off points and listened to all too few positive conclusions," said Rolf Hogan, WWF International's CBD Manager. "It was vital that representatives of governments who came to Bonn to find solutions to our world’s shocking loss of biodiversity actually did what they came here to do. The whole world needs agreement and action so we can get back on track towards achieving our 2010 target.”

For further information:
Rolf Hogan, WWF International, tel: +41 788 972290, rhogan@wwfint.org

About WWF

WWF, the global conservation organization, is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations. WWF has a global network active in over 100 countries with almost 5 million supporters.

WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

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