India to host 2012 biodiversity summit

"This will allow us to continue the strategic partnership of the presidencies of the Conference of the Parties (to the biodiversity convention) started at the eighth meeting, held in Brazil in 2006," Executive Secretary of the convention Ahmed Djoghlaf said. "I look forward to India joining Brazil, Germany and Japan in the quadruple presidency.”

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) pointed out that 2012 will be a very important year for the international green community as it will mark the 20th anniversary of the Rio Conference on Environment and Development, as well as the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The 11th summit will also be crucial as it will be the first opportunity for the international community to review post-2010 biodiversity conservation targets, the revised strategic plan of the UNCBD, and the international agreement on access and benefit-sharing.

India is among the 17 mega-diverse countries that are custodian of 70 per cent of the world’s biodiversity. It is home to the three of the 34 “global biodiversity hotspots”, biologically rich areas facing severe conservation threats. India’s biodiversity is of immense economic, ecological, social and cultural value and its potential future value is far greater. The ecosystem services from the forested watersheds of two major mountain chains -- the Himalayas and the Western Ghats -- indirectly support several million people and non-timber forest products alone have been estimated to be worth $200 million a year.

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