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Possible Global Body Slated To Tackle Biodiversity

Countries Discuss Possible UN-Backed Global Body To Tackle Biodiversity

New York, Nov 10 2008 7:10PM

The possibility of establishing a United Nations-supported scientific intergovernmental body to address biodiversity loss and protect ecosystems is being discussed at a global conference which kicked off in Malaysia today.

Representatives from governments worldwide are in Putrajaya, near the capital Kuala Lumpur, for three days to discuss creating a body similar to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was set up in 1988 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The IPCC has validated the science of climate change and has impelled an international response to global warming, UNEP notes in a press release.

A similar impetus may help to reverse the decline of the Earth’s natural assets and spur political action.

The proposed Intergovernmental Platform or Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) could trigger debate, encourage the formation of appropriate policies and elevate the issue in the global consciousness.

“Global GDP has more than doubled in the past quarter century. In contrast, 60 per cent of the world’s ecosystems have been degraded or are being used in an unsustainable manner,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director.

Treaties including the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on Migratory Species have tried to address these challenges, but have not been able to match the pace of degradation and decline.

“There is clearly a mismatch between the reality in terms of the science and the economics and the actual global international response, which is plainly failing to make a sustained and transformational difference,” Mr. Steiner said.

ENDS

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