Almost every country in the world has signed a UN agreement to attempt to halt biodiversity loss by expanding protected marine and land areas. [There is] broad welcome for new biodiversity targets, including increase in protected areas, but campaigners express concern that previous 2010 targets have still not been met.
The Nagoya Protocol, agreed by 190 countries at the UN biodiversity summit in Japan, saw governments commit to increasing the amount of land-based protected areas and national parks from 12.5 per cent to 17 per cent of the Earth's surface. Marine protected areas will be expanded to 10 per cent, up from just under one per cent.
Governments also agreed to new compensation rules for genetic material which is turned into a profitable pharmaceutical or other product. Less industrialised countries and indigenous peoples argue they haven't benefited when native plants have been developed into drugs by multinational companies - despite the fact that a plant's genetics may have been conserved and managed by a community for millennia.
While welcoming the agreement, campaigners said many countries lacked the necessary funds to manage bigger protected areas. Greenpeace said it was 'shameful' that previous targets to halt biodiversity loss by 2010 had failed to be met by governments.
'If there is to be any success from this meeting it will come when these decisions are implemented and the hundreds of millions of people who need healthy oceans and intact forests feel the positive benefit,' said Greenpeace International Oceans Policy Analyst Nathalie Rey. 'As the international Year of Biodiversity draws to a close, we hope leaders can turn promises to action, provide funds to protect life on earth, and leave a legacy of a rescued planet that can sustain future generations.'