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Nagoya conference addresses biodiversity

By Mata’afa Keni Lesa APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Oct. 29, 2010) – In Japan, a famous face graced the Nagoya Congress Center on Friday, urging the world to save the environment as the 10th Meeting of the Conference to the Parties (COP10) of the Convention on Biological Diversity winds up.

[PIR editor’s note: Nagoya Congress Center is a multi-purpose convention center located in Nagoya, the third largest integrated and fourth most populous cities in Japan.]

Hollywood actor and environmentalist Harrison Ford joined the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Ahmed Djoghlaf, to urge world leaders to come up with new ambitious strategies to protect biodiversity.

Government ministers including Ministers from the Pacific countries are gathering in Nagoya for the final stages a meeting to preserve natural resources.

For two days, leaders from over 100 parties to CBD delivered statements outlining their commitments to protect the environment during the high-level segment of the meeting.

Today, hundreds of negotiators were still locked on talks which are aimed at setting new 2020 targets to protect plant and animal species, a protocol to share genetic resources and more funding to protect nature especially forests.

During his press conference this morning, Ford, a film legend and long-serving vice chairman of Conservation International urged the United States to ratify the CBD.

Ford said pressure on political leadership was needed to save forests, oceans and rivers that are home to nature’s rich diversity of species underpinning livelihoods.

"We have to create a kind of undeniable groundswell of public opinion, a kind of movement level effect, something like the Civil Rights Movement or the Women’s Rights Movement, Ford told the world media. One of the reasons I’ve come is because I want to urge the United States government to sign the treaty."

Ford said the United States is here as an observer.

"The United States is here as a source of funding but we’re not a voting delegate and we need to take that responsibility, to have that opportunity and to show leadership," he said.

The United States has signed but not ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Ford, who has had the ant species Pheidole harrisonfordi named after him in a nod to his work as a conservationist, said nature was indispensible to everyday lives.

"Nature provides us with fresh water, a way of healthy soils, foodstuffs, future pharmaceuticals and food crops, he said. We can’t afford to create mechanisms to provide those services for ourselves that nature gives us for free when nature is healthy and protected."

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