Worlds nations more adept at protecting land areas than territorial seas

October 6th, 2008 - 2:37 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Oct 6 (ANI): The worlds nations are showing that they are much more adept at protecting land areas than territorial seas.

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the worlds most widely endorsed environmental treaty, ratified by all nations but the USA, Somalia, Iraq, the Vatican and Andorra.

In 2004, the 191 governments that are parties to the treaty committed themselves to ensuring that a least 10 per cent of each of the worlds ecological regions are effectively conserved by 2010.

The Annual Report on Protected Areas: A review of Global Conservation Progress in 2007, based on the World Database of Protected Areas, finds many of the worlds nations are a long way behind their agreed targets.

While progress towards achieving the 10 percent protected area target has been better on land, marine areas remain especially poorly protected, Charles Besancon, the Head of the Protected Areas Programme at UNEP-WCMC, told ENN (Environmental News Network).

While 12.2 percent of the planets land area is under legal protection only 5.9 percent of the worlds territorial seas and less than 1 percent of the high seas are protected, he added.

Just under half (45 percent) of the worlds nations have met the 10 percent protected area target, but only 14 percent of counties have managed to meet the CBD protected area target for their territorial seas.

When we take a closer look at the level of protection in individual countries and ecological regions it is clear that many of the worlds government still have a lot of work to do if they are to contribute to the achievement of the 10 percent targets by the agreed dates, said WWFs Senior Conservation Scientist Dr. Neil Burgess.

Countries in North Africa and the Middle East, South Asia, and Oceania have less than 10 percent of their terrestrial area protected. And many Asian, African and Pacific countries have less than 2 percent of their territorial seas protected, he added.

Protected areas have proved to be an effective tool for reducing deforestation, responsible for up to 20 percent of global CO2 emissions, protecting water supplies for huge human populations and maintaining the productivity of fisheries.

The UNEP-WCMC report estimates that 15 percent of global carbon stocks are found in protected areas, giving them a vital role in mitigating climate change.

According to Gordon Shepherd, Director Global and Regional Policy at WWF International, By not living up to their commitments on protected areas, governments are putting at risk ecosystem goods and services such as climate regulation, nutrient and waste management, flood control, coastal protection, and the provision of food, freshwater, fuel, medicines, building materials, fertile soils, and breathable air. (ANI)

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