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Scientists to UN: Don't Repeat Mistakes12/06 06:01

   Scientists around the world are warning governments who will be gathering in 
Montreal this week for the United Nations biodiversity summit to not repeat 
past mistakes and are urging officials to "avoid trade-offs" between people and 
conservation needs in a report Monday.

   MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) -- Scientists around the world are warning governments 
who will be gathering in Montreal this week for the United Nations biodiversity 
summit to not repeat past mistakes and are urging officials to "avoid 
trade-offs" between people and conservation needs in a report Monday.

   The study published in the One Earth Journal found that even though there 
has been an increase in investment in conservation over the last three decades 
governments "have not succeeded in bending the curve on biodiversity decline."

   The conference known as COP15, which begins Tuesday, hopes to set the goals 
for the world for the next decade to help conserve the planet's biodiversity 
and stem the loss of nature. So far the world has failed to meet goals set at 
previous meetings.

   The scientists proposed six areas for action for delegates working toward 
what's known as the global biodiversity framework. They include greater 
involvement of local communities and addressing both direct causes of nature 
decline such as the destruction of land and habitats as well as indirect causes 
such as climate change.

   In the report scientists repeatedly called for officials to be "nature and 
people positive" in their approach, highlighting the need for solutions that 
are realistic and have support from local communities in order to best protect 
nature.

   Instead of conserving areas by making them inaccessible to local people, the 
scientists said greater inclusion of communities and particularly Indigenous 
groups will be vital in curbing even more biodiversity loss.

   Reducing greenhouse gas emissions which fuel climate change that leads to 
the loss of land and species also needs to be addressed, the scientists said.

   "No amount of conservation or restoration actions may be effective in 
stopping biodiversity loss if the accelerating drivers of decline continue and 
intensify, as has been the case to date, especially in wealthier countries and 
among elites, who often express commitment to conservation action," said David 
Obura, who is one of the report authors.

   The growing demands of rich nations, in particular "excess consumption and 
unsustainable trade and investments" also need to be halted if groups are to be 
protected, co-author Diana Liverman said. "Consumption footprints in richer 
countries consistently drive biodiversity loss in poorer countries," she added.

   Outside experts' views of how the summit can be a success were in line with 
the report's findings.

   "The Montreal COP needs to send that signal that the global economy is 
transitioning to be nature positive," said The Nature Conservancy's Linda 
Kreuger who wasn't part of the report.

   "Much of the conversation in Montreal is likely to revolve around money and 
specifically how much of it wealthier countries are willing to make available 
to support the conservation efforts of emerging economies."

   Indigenous rights groups led by Survival International and Amnesty 
International agreed that local communities were central to protecting local 
biodiversity.

   "Indigenous peoples are the best guardians of the natural world and an 
essential part of human diversity," said Fiore Longo of Survival International. 
"The best way to protect biodiversity is to respect the land rights of 
Indigenous peoples."

 
 
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