The recent international Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya ended with a historic agreement signed by over 200 nations.* Over the last few months, the convention had frequently been compared to the (largely) failed climate change convention held in Copenhagen at the end of last year.
However, unlike Copenhagen, there was (ultimately) agreement in Nagoya to slow the loss of biodiversity through increasing the area of the globe's surface that is protected from exploitation. Currently, thirteen percent of land and one percent of coastal and marine areas are protected, but these figures are to rise to seventeen and ten percent respectively. There was also a breakthrough agreements on how genetic information is handled, which has been seen as good news for developing countries (on the whole).
This is heartening, however, critics point to lack of funding to back up these targets. Amidst the celebrations over the achievements of this convention, it is sobering to remember that agreements made at the previous convention in 2002 have been largely ignored by governments over the last eight years.
The last two weeks have demonstrated that global* agreement on crucial ecological matters is still possible after Copenhagen. The question that remains is: how attainable is genuine global action?
*CORRECTION: When I said "global" agreement, I was only speaking of the 200-odd nations who signed the merely voluntary agreement. Of course I wasn't referring to the three micro-nations who have either not signed or not ratified the original 1992 convention and so are not a formal part of this process: Andorra, the Holy See, and the United States of America.
Image by MLS.