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Global biodiversity treaty still searches for its moment in the spotlight

03 / 12 / 2018, Mongabaycom News

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt — As policymakers, conservation scientists and the global media geared up to attend U.N. climate talks in Poland, discussions on another environment-related global treaty were quietly drawing to a close in Egypt. More than 8,000 delegates from around the world convened in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh from Nov. 13-29 to discuss the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, a global treaty that entered into force 25 years ago. The timing for the meeting was critical. There are just two years left to reach a set of biodiversity goals committed to in 2010 by the treaty’s 196 signatories: an agreement distilled into the Aichi Targets, a 20-point program to protect terrestrial and marine life and habitats by expanding protected areas, reshaping public policy, raising awareness, and working to ensure equal access to the social and economic benefits that come from intact ecosystems. The conference launched amid sobering news for the state of the world’s flora and fauna. The WWF’s latest “Living Planet Report,” published in late October, indicates that global vertebrate populations saw an overall decline of 60 percent between 1970 and 2014. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC,” also released in October, highlighted the dire effects of climate change. A month later, the National Climate Change Assessment issued by scientists in the United States illustrated how such consequences are already playing out in North American ecosystems. “If we do not act we soon may reach tipping…

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