Target to stop biodiversity loss missed: UN

World has missed 2010 target for a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday while opening a high-level debate on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

New York: The world has missed the 2010 target for a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday while opening a high-level debate on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

The UN Environment Programme said that multiple indications have shown a continuing decline of three main components of biodiversity: genes, species and the ecosystems, which contribute to human wellbeing.

"Conserving the planet`s species and habitats - and the goods and services they provide - is central to sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals," Ban said while opening the debate in the UN General Assembly.

He asserted that the global decline in biodiversity is actually accelerating.

"The 2010 target will not be met," Ban said.

"Science tells us that our actions have pushed extinctions to up to 1,000 times the natural background rate. The reason is simple: human activities. Yours, mine, everyone`s."

He said the main causes for the decline include deforestation, changes in habitat, land degradation and the growing impact of climate change.

The convention is signed by all 192 UN members plus the EU. The parties agreed in 2002 to take measures to stop the further decline of biodiversity by 2010, which was designated International Year of Biodiversity.

Germany is currently leading the convention, which will be taken over by Japan in October. All 193 parties to the convention are scheduled to meet in Nagoya, Japan, next month to adopt a strategic plan on biodiversity and a 2050 biodiversity vision.

Presidents Porfirio Lobo Sosa of Honduras and Johnson Toribiong of Palau, who were attending UN meetings in New York, called for conserving the world`s dwindling shark population. They urge in particular coastal countries to save sharks by setting up sanctuaries in their waters and for all fishing countries to end shark finning and overfishing of sharks.

An estimated 73 million sharks are killed each year to support the unregulated international shark-fin trade.

-IANS