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Joahannesburg Summit 2002
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Significant Progress Made in Johannesburg Summit Negotiations

Johannesburg, 27 August— Significant progress was recorded in the negotiations on the Johannesburg Summit's Plan of Implementation, particularly with agreement on a number of key provisions containing targets and timetables.

Agreement was reached on goals to restore fisheries, to limit and prevent pollution and waste from land based sources, and a goal to develop food strategies in Africa.

In addition, negotiators completed agreement on a series of provisions aimed at promoting sustainable fishing, including a commitment by countries to restore depleted fisheries to their maximum sustainable yield by 2015. Presently, three-quarters of the world's fisheries are fished to their sustainable levels or beyond.

The newly agreed provisions also called on countries to ratify the Law of the Sea, and asked regional fisheries management organizations to consider the needs of developing countries when allocating fish quotas.

The agreement to restore fisheries calls on countries to maintain or restore fisheries to maximum strength by 2015. The agreement, and several others, completes the remaining outstanding provisions on oceans.

Countries have now agreed to more than 40 paragraphs since negotiations resumed in Johannesburg. At the start of negotiations, countries had agreed on three-quarters of the Plan of Implementation.

The pace of the negotiations has quickened, and the negotiators have reported that they are close on a number of important issues, although final language still has to be worked out. Movement has been reported on some of the most contentious provisions that include trade and finance issues.

Plenary sessions were held on agriculture and finance issues. These followed sessions on heath and water yesterday, and sessions on water and energy are scheduled for Tuesday.

At the plenary session on biodiversity and ecosystem management, Peter Schei, a high level advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme, reported that the value of biodiversity to the world was estimated to be in the range of $3 trillion a year, while the benefits derived from ecosystems, overall, amounts to more than $33 trillion. He called for immediate government action to protect these natural systems, or their ability to provide those benefits will continue to erode.

The UN Secretariat has submissions from 17 biodiversity partnerships, between governments, NGOs, and international organizations with almost $100 million in resources, to support actions throughout Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Schei, said that despite 15 to 30 years of agreements on biodiversity on paper, "there has not been a lot of implementation. He added that the resources spent on financing Biodiversity were "ridiculous" compared to the $350 billion that countries spend on subsidies every year.

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24 August 2006