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Posted on on October 27th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Japan offered $2 billion in aid Wednesday with just three days left until Friday’s conclusion of the conference on the Convention on Biodiversity with 193 countries (192 + the EU) the two weeks exercise not moving a bit.

“We must stop this great extinction in our lifetime,” Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at the conference in Nagoya, southwest of Tokyo, in announcing the $2 billion aid offer over the next three years. But please – do not forget that thse are Japan and Norway that still insist on killing whales as others will not give up killing the animals in their lands, and hunting for fish where they can.

Yesterday, a study published online in the journal Science showed that 1 in 5 of the world’s vertebrates, or animals with backbones — mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians — are threatened with extinction, although efforts to save endangered animals are helping.

Another area of disagreement is the demand for  equitably sharing the profits from genetic resources, such as plants that Western drug companies have harvested to produce drugs.

Developing nations and indigenous groups  argue for years that they have seen little benefit from such resources, and delegates are seeking to create a legal framework for such “access and benefit-sharing.” In some cases if genetic human material is harvested by the Pharmaceutical companies as if they were there for the tacking.

Environmental ministers from the member nations were due to pick up the negotiations, some of which have been bogged down by concerns about how to pay for increases in protected areas. Japan offered to help. Reports from Nagoya say that it seems Japan really wants to find a way out.

Sue Lieberman, director of international policy at the Pew Trust, said the move could prompt other governments to step up with financial aid to keep the talks from collapsing, as the U.N. climate talks did in Copenhagen last year.
But she also say that Japan has a miserable record on marine biodiversity.

Delegates are divided over how much of the world’s oceans to designate as protected by 2020 — which can range from ocean sanctuaries to areas that have sustainable fishing. Currently, less than 1 percent of the world’s marine areas are protected. Delegates are debating whether to raise that to 6 percent — a figure advocated by China — 10 percent or as high as 20 percent.

American actor Harrison Ford, who has been on the board of Conservation International for more than 15 years, was also in Nagoya to encourage delegates to set ambitious goals.

“I just feel it’s an ethical responsibility to help do whatever I can to work for the benefit of nature,” Ford said. “I’ve got five kids and I want to see that there’s something left for them, enough of intact nature so that they can enjoy its beauty and benefits as my generation has.”


Dear Friends:

There are only 300 northern right whales left, and 99% of blue whales have been wiped out. These majestic giants are endangered species, and their case is being played out across the world, time and again. In fact, one third of all life forms on the planet are on the brink of extinction.

The natural world is being crushed by human activity, waste and exploitation. But there is a plan to save it — a global agreement to create, fund and enforce protected areas covering 20% of our lands and seas by 2020. And right now, 193 governments are meeting in Japan to address this crisis.

We have just 36 hours left in this crucial meeting. Experts say that politicians are hesitant to adopt such an ambitious goal, but that a global public outcry could tip the balance, making leaders feel the eyes of the world upon them. Click to sign the urgent 20/20 petition, and forward this email widely — the message will be delivered directly to the meeting in Japan:

Wow – over 300,000 people have signed on in 2 days! We’ve got 36 hours left in this summit — sign also the awaaz petition. Please.


Nevertheless, we feel we have to add a reminder that we wrote earlier:

Forget the UN – It is the Small Island States like Palau that will step out to SAVE THE WHALES AND OURSELVES – One More Reason We Should Save The Small Island States From Extinction.


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