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TextImplementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-20, its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the status of biodiversity in world's oceans among others will be a few topics which will be discussed at the UN biodiversity meeting which began here today. The eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to be held from today to October 19, would review issues like the progress of the strategic plan, process of integration of biodiversity conservation in national policies by governments, the Aichi targets, resource mobilisation, marine and coastal biodiversity and the ratification of Nagoya Protocol, CBD executive secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias told reporters. The strategic plan, a ten-year framework for action in support of implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, have been established as the overall framework for biodiversity work in the United Nations system.
India is hosting the UN Conference on Biodiversity, which kicks off today in the southern city of Hyderabad. This gathering is the first in what has been declared as the “UN Decade of Biodiversity.” 192 countries and the European Union are participating.
The conference slogan in Sanskrit is “Prakruti Rakshathi Rak#ha” which translates into “Nature protects if she is protected.”
In the next few decades, losses of flora, fauna and ocean’s ecosystems will impact food supply and the livelihood of millions who depend on these resources. “The situation is extremely critical,” said Ashok Khosla, head of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s oldest environmental network. “It’s the worst loss in the past 50 to 60 million years when dinosaurs went extinct,” Khosla added. “But governments and ecosystems have not taken any action seriously.”
To highlight his point, Khosla gave the example of the endangered (Atlantic) Bluefin Tuna. In Japan, one such fish (weighing about 600 lbs) was sold for $750,000 in January. “It’s indicative of how scarce it has become,” he said. “Many of the fisheries that feed people around the world have collapsed.” Researchers for Nature Journal, who conducted a study in 60 protected areas of Africa, Asia and South America, found that even these “final refuges” of threatened species are “vulnerable to human encroachment and environmental stresses.” “Habitat disruption, hunting and forest-product exploitation were the strongest predictors of declining reserve health,” said the study released this year.
There was a time when so many sawfishes were caught in areas of Pakistan that people made fences with the rostrums, the saw-like beak of the sawfish. Today, however, some people in the region might catch a sawfish just once or twice a year.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, out of the 63,837 species assessed, 19,817 are threatened with extinction, including 41% of amphibians, 33% of reef building corals, 25% of mammals, 13% of birds, and 30% of conifers.