NEW YORK (Kyodo) The Nagoya Protocol on biodiversity opened for signatures Wednesday at the United Nations, with Colombia and three other countries inking the agreement.

The protocol, adopted in October at the 10th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP10, in Nagoya, will come into effect 90 days after being ratified by the 50th country. The opening day’s three other signatories were Yemen, Algeria and Brazil.

As the chair of COP10, Japan plans to complete coordination among ministries within a year to sign the protocol, which is intended to facilitate access to genetic resources and equitable sharing of benefits from their utilization, according to government officials.

“Japan will make the greatest possible efforts toward bringing the protocol into effect and smoothly implementing it,” Tatsushi Terada, the country’s vice minister for global environmental affairs, told a news conference at the U.N.

Terada referred to Japan’s “great responsibility” as the conference chair, which it will remain until the next meeting in October 2012 in India.

Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, sounded optimistic about the protocol taking effect at an early date.

“We are confident that many others will follow (the four countries) to sign the protocol . . . and that we will be able to ensure the entry into force of the protocol before our next conference,” he said at the same news conference.

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