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U.N. creates biodiversity panel

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- U.N. member states passed necessary measures needed to create a new intergovernmental panel on biodiversity, the U.N. Environment Program announced.

The U.N. General Assembly approved a measure to create the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The platform will function alongside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which spearheaded international conferences in Mexico and Denmark.

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The UNEP said the biodiversity platform will "bridge the gulf" between scientific data on accelerated ecosystem decline and government action.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said 2010, which was dubbed the International Year on Biodiversity, started off with little momentum.

"But it has ended on a far more positive one that underlines a new determination to act on the challenges and deliver the opportunities possible from a far more intelligent management of the planet's nature-based assets," he said in a statement.

He notes the adoption of the biodiversity panel follows commitments made in Japan in October to increase the amount of protected land from 12.5 percent to 17 percent.

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