Stronger action urged to slow extinction

0 CommentsPrint E-mail, May 24, 2010
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Experts have called for legislation to protect biodiversity and promote the efficient use of technology to curb the unprecedented decline of plant and animal species.

It is estimated that at least one species disappears every hour, including some unknown to human beings, according to the UN. Currently, more than 34,000 plants and 5,200 animals are on the verge of extinction, such as the Cuban crocodile and the white-headed langur.

The species that are part of an endangered species group are closer to extinction, among which amphibian species face the greatest risk. Deterioration of coral species face the highest risks.

"A better legislation is needed to curb the decline and maintain a stable ecosystem," said Li Wenhua, an ecologist at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who attributed the decline to environment pollution and exploitation.

Li made the remarks on Saturday, International Day for Biological Diversity, at a ceremony to unveil the monument for the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity at the Beijing Zoo.

"We have to enhance efforts to protect biodiversity which not only benefits current development, but coming generations," Li added.

Li Ganjie, vice-minister of environmental protection, said that the ceremony marked the full implementation of China's action plan for biodiversity protection.

"We aim to improve the public's awareness about protecting biodiversity and encourage them to participate in the campaign," he said.

Local governments and NGOs also held activities to promote biodiversity conservation among people. The government in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, launched the first Asia-pacific Forum on Biodiversity Conservation on Saturday.

Despite repeated global promises to protect the planet's species, the variety of life continues to decline at an unprecedented rate, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday as he called for action to curb the root causes of the problem.

"Biodiversity loss is moving ecological systems ever closer to a tipping point beyond which they will no longer be able to fulfill their vital functions," he said.

In 2002, several countries vowed to greatly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. However, the Global Biodiversity Outlook report released on May 10 by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) revealed that the international community missed the target.

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