Environment Ministers face final decisions in intense negotiations at the \’Convention on Biological Diversity\’ conference.

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It’s make or break time as Environment Ministers face final decisions in intense negotiations at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference. While wide differences need to be bridged there is positive progress towards a new biodiversity plan.

“Countries have made some great strides on the biodiversity plan. We’re encouraged by support for a target of 20 per cent for terrestrial protected areas, and consensus on a target to stop the overexploitation of fish stocks.” said Jim Leape, WWF International Director General

Agreement is also now looking likely on the inclusion, for the first time, of a target requiring governments to include national capital accounting in their national budget. But a strong target for marine protected areas is in trouble if efforts to pursue a target of only six percent for our oceans gets through.

“We need a breakthrough on ocean protection this week. Given the oceans cover more than 70 per cent of our planet, we should be ambitious about getting 20 percent of it under protection. The ambitions to protect 20 percent of land areas should be matched in the oceans.” added Leape.

The government of Japan has announced aid worth two billion US dollars over the next three years part of which will be geared toward developing countries for implementation of the new biodiversity plan. WWF is looking to all donor countries to put additional funds on the table to put the new plan into action.

“New money is clearly important. Delivering an ambitious biodiversity plan will require new money. There are some resources now available and we need a pathway agreed to mobilize the requisite additional resources.” added Leape.

While the negotiation on the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Protocol has threatened to scupper countries’ efforts to deliver a new biodiversity plan, there are positive signs that they will reach an agreement this week.

The legal Protocol would detail how countries with important genetic resources in their biodiversity, particular developing countries, will benefit from any commercial development of these assets.

“An ABS agreement is long overdue so it is important for countries to crack this difficult nut this week. They’ve never had a better opportunity to crack it.”

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