• Kyodo News


An international conference on biodiversity set to take place in Japan in October will attempt to set new targets for protecting organisms and conclude a global pact stating how genetic resources are to be used in drug development and other fields.

The talks are likely to be tough, however, because member countries are split on many issues, such as how people should conserve and use biodiversity in a sustainable way, as well as the use of a variety of living things that exist in an environment, according to people close to the negotiations.

The 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP10, will be held from Oct. 18 to 29 in Nagoya. The last three days are scheduled for ministerial-level discussions, which are expected to culminate in agreements on the two major topics.

The new post-2010 targets for conserving organisms will be considered in two phases — short-term targets covering the period until 2020 and medium- to long-term targets through 2050.

Member states are divided on many specific conservation issues, including the proportions of the protective zones to be set aside at sea and on land, where development activities are to be restricted.

There are also conflicts of interests regarding the use of genetic resources between the industrialized and developing nations. Such resources often exist in less-developed countries and can bring wealth to companies in advanced nations. But the profits from those resources rarely benefit the country of origin.

Resource-rich African countries are calling for benefit-sharing, not only for materials found on their land but also for the components processed from such resources. But industrialized nations are reluctant to expand profit allocations to such countries.

Bringing about benefit-sharing in countries of origin has been one of the aims of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was adopted in 1992 to promote the conservation of biodiversity.

The convention has more than 190 members, including Japan, but the United States is not a party to the pact.

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