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G8 environment chiefs discuss biodiversity
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Environment ministers from the Group of Eight (G8) held their first session on biodiversity conservation Saturday, highlighting biodiversity and climate change are not isolated but closely related issues.

Japan's Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita (C) smiles as he stands between Germany's Secretary of State Matthias Machnig (front L), Italy's Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo (front 2ndL), Russia's Natural Resources and Ecology Deputy Minister Semen Levi (front 2nd R), Britain's Environment Secretary Hilary Benn (front R), and outreach delegates during a family photo at the G8 Environment Ministers Meeting in Kobe, western Japan May 24, 2008. The ministers and delegates wore traditional Japanese happi coats.

During the session, environment chiefs reached a consensus on the importance of biodiversity and the adoption of effective measures to significantly hold down the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.

Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, said that climate change and biodiversity are not isolated from each other; they should thus be addressed and examined as relevant issues.

His remarks were echoed by most delegates present, who argued that the issue of forest best reflects the close relations between biodiversity and climate change. They said that illegal deforestation is one of the factors that speed up the shrinking of forest area.

The environment chiefs also stressed the important role that systematic monitoring and sustainable exploitation have played in maintaining biodiversity.

During a bilateral meeting held on the sideline of the conference, Japan and the United States agreed to set up a multilateral "clean technology fund" to promote the development of technology aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming.

The G8 environment ministers meeting opened earlier Saturday in the run-up to the G8 summit scheduled for July 7-9 at the Lake Toya resort in the Japanese northern main island of Hokkaido.

Three major issues of biodiversity, climate change and 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) are on the agenda of the three-day conference.

Environment chiefs and relevant officials from the European Commission, 10 developing countries, including China, India and Brazil, and eight international organizations are also invited to be present at the gathering.

(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2008)

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