UN meeting reviews ways to save biodiversity
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UN meeting reviews ways to save biodiversity

NEW DELHI (AP) — Delegates from nearly 200 countries were working Tuesday to implement an agreement on protecting Earth’s ecosystems at a biodiversity conference in southern India.

The U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad is discussing progress toward achieving goals laid out in the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol created in Japan two years ago.

The protocol lays down steps for countries to protect ecosystems and share access to genetic resources. Convention officials said 92 countries have signed the protocol but only six have ratified it. At least 50 ratifications are required for the Nagoya Protocol to come into force.

Scientists warn that numerous species could become extinct unless prompt action is taken to protect them. However, countries are divided over resources to fund the implementation of the protocol.

Developing countries said the global economic crisis should not dampen funding from industrialized countries, as conserving biodiversity is an investment for the future.

“Expenditure on biodiversity needs to be looked at as an investment that will reap benefits for us and our future generations,” Jayanthi Natarajan, India’s environment minister, told the conference Monday.

At the Nagoya meet in 2010, countries identified 20 biodiversity targets to be pursued in the decade to 2020 aimed at halting the extinction of the world’s animals and plants and preventing further damage to its ecosystems.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza, executive secretary of the convention, said the Hyderabad meeting would explored problems countries’ faced while implementing those goals, including a lack of resources for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.