Tensions high on final day of UN biodiversity talks

By Karl Malakunas |AFP

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warned last year the world faced its sixth mass extinction phase, the last being 65 million years ago when dinosaurs vanished.

NAGOYA, Japan — UN talks on an ambitious pact to protect the world’s ecosystems hinged on last-ditch efforts by rich and poor nations to broker a deal over resources derived from places such as the Amazon.

The meeting in the central Japanese city of Nagoya is meant to produce a roadmap of 20 key goals to be achieved over the next decade to contain man’s destruction of nature and save the world’s rapidly diminishing biodiversity.

Delegates from more than 190 countries have agreed to most of those goals. But a dispute over “fairly sharing” genetic resources — taken mostly from developing countries such as Brazil — has yet to be resolved.

Hopes were high on Thursday that the contentious issue had been resolved, but talks broke down in the evening and negotiators were forced into another round of meetings on Friday — the final day of the 12-day summit.

“Yesterday’s optimism proved misplaced in Nagoya. No predicting what will happen now but still hope for an agreement on biodiversity,” European environment commissioner Janez Potocnik said in a message posted on Twitter.

In a bid to break the stalemate, host nation Japan released Friday a draft text on the proposed “Access and Benefits Sharing Protocol” for genetic resources.

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