Extra protection for threatened ecosystems

Developed countries are set to double their funding support for vulnerable marine areas, following a UN biodiversity conference

Countries attending the 11th United Nations Biodiversity Conference have agreed to double resources for the protection of threatened species and ecosystems by 2015.

Delegates from almost 200 countries gathered in Hyderabad, India, in October 2012 to discuss progress towards targets set out in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Developed countries agreed to double funding to support developing states in meeting the targets, with special attention to be paid to a number of vulnerable marine areas.

The North Atlantic’s Sargasso Sea area, the South Pacific’s Tonga archipelago and coral sites off the coast of Brazil are among areas to receive attention as part of renewed efforts to manage the world’s oceans sustainably. Many of these are outside national jurisdictions so currently receive little or no protection.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, executive secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said: “These results, coming in a period of economic crisis, demonstrate that the world is committed to implementing the CBD [Convention on Biodiversity].”

In a statement following the event, Veronica Frank, a spokesperson for Greenpeace said: “It is not often at these large UN conferences that the environment has much to celebrate, but yesterday was one of those rare exceptions. After ten days of intense negotiations, representatives of governments from across the globe put individual self interest to one side and agreed to a set of measures that will take us a step closer to an effective regime for the protection of our oceans. The warning signs have been everywhere, and finally the leaders seem to be listening.”