生物多様性会議 自然の恵み守るルール作りを

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 18, 2010)
Formulate rules to protect gift of nature
生物多様性会議 自然の恵み守るルール作りを(10月17日付・読売社説)

International cooperation is indispensable to protect the Earth's natural environment, which is inhabited by a vast array of organisms.

The 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) kicks off in Nagoya on Monday to discuss related measures. About 190 countries and regions will participate.

It is an urgent task to head off the ecosystem destruction currently under way across the globe. We hope COP10 will serve as a catalyst toward this end.

Biodiversity is a keyword of the conference, but it is unfamiliar to most people.

The Earth's organisms are interconnected and interdependent. Microbes fertilize soil on which trees grow. Berries and fruits on the trees are precious food for animals.

Of course, seafood and grains on our table also are a gift of nature.

This natural cycle is predicated on the continued existence of a wide variety of organisms, believed to number in the tens of millions. We must protect this biodiversity and maintain the environment for its sustainable future use.

Halting biodiversity loss

However, it is said that as many as 40,000 kinds of organisms go extinct on Earth each year. This is partly due to a decline in tropical forests, host to a plethora of life forms, because of development by humans.

Therefore, setting a concrete target to stop this biodiversity loss likely will be the focus of attention at the Nagoya conference.

The European Union is calling for a target of halting biodiversity loss by 2020, but developing countries that want to place priority on development insist on a more moderate goal.

We hope countries will cooperate to reach a realistic agreement to tackle the problem.

Another contentious issue on the COP10 agenda is formulating rules on how profits should be apportioned to developing countries if companies in advanced countries make pharmaceuticals using animals, plants or microbes taken from developing countries.

Biological resources help our life in a variety of ways. For example, Madagascar periwinkle originally from Madagascar is used as a compound in making anticancer agents.

Bridging the divide

However, a wide gap exists between developing countries, which demand a larger share of the lucrative profits from their biological resources, and advanced nations, which want to reduce profit-sharing out of concern over an increased burden on drugmakers.

The Convention on Biological Diversity, together with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, are called "twin treaties."

Yet the reality is that in either case, the tug-of-war between advanced countries and developing countries keep discussions from progressing.

The diplomatic and organizational abilities of COP10 chair Japan will be put to the test in Nagoya, as attention focuses on whether the conference will be able to draw up fair and equitable rules.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 17, 2010)
(2010年10月17日01時06分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2010-10-18 05:35 | 英字新聞

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