30 Oct 2010

UN biodiversity meeting agrees on 10-year plan

4:31 pm on 30 October 2010

A United Nations biodiversity meeting in Japan has agreed to a 10-year plan aimed at preserving nature.

But targets for protecting areas of land and sea are weaker than conservation scientists want, the BBC reports, as is the overall target for slowing biodiversity loss.

The meeting settled on targets of protecting 17% of the world's land surface and 10% of its oceans by 2020.

Many conservationists point out that about 13% of the land is already protected - while the existing target for oceans is already 10%.

Most developing countries are reported to be pleased, however, with measures aimed at ensuring they get a share in profits from products made from plants and other organisms.

The plan includes a promise of billions of dollars to aid conservation in poorer regions.

Nations have two years to draw up plans for funding the plan.

"This agreement reaffirms the fundamental need to conserve nature as the very foundation of our economy and our society," says Jim Leape, director-general of WWF International.

"Governments have sent a strong message that protecting the health of the planet has a place in international politics, and countries are ready to join forces to save life on Earth."