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Brazil says UN biodiversity summit needs biopiracy deal

by Staff Writers
Nagoya, Japan (AFP) Oct 26, 2010
Brazil's environment minister warned Tuesday that UN talks on biodiversity hinged on a deal being reached to stop genetic resources and knowledge being plundered in developing countries.

Izabella Teixeira said securing a binding pact on ending "biopiracy" was imperative if there was to be a broader treaty at the talks, which are being held in Japan this week, to slow the mass extinction of species.

"We need an agreement for an ABS protocol," Teixeira told AFP, referring to the Access and Benefits Sharing agreement that Brazil and other developing countries are insisting on.

"It is really important we achieve that this year. For us it is unacceptable that we still don't have a formal legal framework (for the ABS)."

Delegates from more than 190 countries are in the central Japanese city of Nagoya in an effort to agree on ways to end humans' destruction of nature, which is leading to the rapid extinction of many plants and animals.

A draft of a proposed text lists 20 targets to be achieved over the next decade, such as protecting fisheries and forests, cutting pollution levels and restoring degraded ecosystems.

However, Brazil has insisted that no targets will be agreed to unless rich nations also sign off on a binding ABS deal.

The ABS would essentially mean medicine and cosmetic companies would have to pay indigenous people and others from developing countries when they use wild plants and animals to make new products.

Rich nations have for nearly two decades resisted such a pact.

"You have to understand you need to share the benefits," Teixeira said in an interview with AFP on the sidelines of the Nagoya talks.

"To have an agreement on biodiversity, it's important to protect, it's important to have sustainable use, but it's also important to share the benefits."

Asked if the talks could end on Friday in failure with no ABS agreement, Teixeira said: "Always you have a risk."

But she said she was optimistic.

"I think that we'll be able to achieve an agreement," she said.

"I am an optimist so... I hope so. I have worked hard to do this."

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