The loss of biodiversity could undermine the achievement of the MDGs
First meeting of the Heads of Agencies Task Force on the 2010 Biodiversity Target
13 September 2006, Rome – Environmental degradation and, in particular, the loss of biodiversity could undermine the achievement of some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to FAO Assistant Director-General Alexander Müller. Therefore, the recent proposal of the UN Secretary General to establish a new target under MDG 7 to significantly reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010 is very much welcomed.
Mr. Müller was speaking on the eve of the first meeting of the Heads of Agencies Task Force on the 2010 Biodiversity Target (Gland, Switzerland, 15 September 2006) at which he will represent FAO.
Heads of UN agencies, international environmental agreements and NGOs are expected to adopt a joint statement promoting action to reduce biodiversity loss at the meeting.
The 2010 Biodiversity Target calls upon countries “to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.”
Endorsed by 110 leaders at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002, and then again by the Millennium +5 Summit in New York in 2005, the Target is a follow-up to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
This Convention, which was signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, is dedicated to promoting sustainable development.
Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21 into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro-organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and their need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live.
In addition to the FAO, the meeting in Gland will be attended by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
The lead UN agencies will be joined by the international conventions concerned with biological diversity: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Other partners include IUCN – The World Conservation Union, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Future Harvest centres represented by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI).
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