Gangwon Declaration on Biodiversity is adopted

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Gangwon Declaration on Biodiversity is adopted


Environmental delegates discuss biodiversity for sustainable development yesterday at the high-level segment of the 12th Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity at the Alpensia Convention Center in Pyeongchang, Gangwon. [NEWSIS]

Environmental delegates from around the globe and officials from related international organizations gathered last week for the 12th Conference of Parties (COP 12) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which will end today.

The CBD is an international organization that was initiated at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The high-level segment of the convention, which ran on Oct. 15 and 16, took place at the Alpensia Convention Center in Pyeongchang, Gangwon.

At the conference, delegates adopted the Gangwon Declaration on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development and accepted the Korean government’s offer to designate borderline areas, such as the demilitarized zone (DMZ), as a space for reconciliation and peace.

“I hope the DMZ can be preserved not only by the two Koreas but also in cooperation with the international community,” Prime Minister Chung Hong-won said in his keynote speech on Tuesday.

Public access to the zone was forbidden for 60 years, and it is believed that more than 3,500 rare varieties of flora and fauna inhabit the area.

While Korea intended to include the DMZ in the declaration, some Latin American countries expressed opposition to the suggestion, saying that the efforts to promote peace in border areas should not be confined to the two Koreas only.

Instead, wording in the draft was reworked so that it accounted for all “trans-boundary protected areas.”

The declaration stressed the importance of the Nagoya Protocol, a multilateral treaty that lays down the rules of access to genetic resources - any material that comes from plants, animals or other organisms - and encourages states to put in place systems to share the benefits arising from their utilization with their communities or origin. The delegates urged countries that have not adopted the treaty to ratify it.

Kirsten Brosbol, the Danish minister for the environment, was optimistic about the this year’s Gangwon Declaration, stating: “It will help to decrease the loss of biological diversity and to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.”

The Aichi Biodiversity Targets are a set of 20 measurable goals to halt the loss of biodiversity at a global level by 2020. It was agreed upon in 2010 by representative parties at the 10th COP of the CBD in Nagoya, Japan.


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