t should be comforting to know that a mere 17 countries hold more than 70% of the world’s species. It should be easy to rally this small group of ‘megadiverse countries’ to protect the planet’s extraordinary biodiversity. Alas, some of these countries are also the world’s biggest consumers and polluters.
The term ‘megadiverse countries’ has been used for decades. In July 2000, the UN’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre recognised 17 megadiverse countries which hold the majority of Earth’s species and high numbers of endemic species (i.e. those unique to an area or country).