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Monday, 12 October 2009 21:31

UN biodiversity goals a no-go for 2010

The members of the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity agreed that the world will not meet its target to slow down biodiversity loss by 2010.

Approximately six hundred biodiversity science experts, those that have critical abilities in science and policy with regards to global biodiversity, will meet in Cape Town, South Africa, October 13-16, 2009, for the DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference (OSC) because of growing concerns that “… the pace of biodiversity loss is worsening in many places….”

The Diversitas OSC website states, “Experts say changes to ecosystems and losses of biodiversity have continued to accelerate. Since 1992, the most conservative estimates suggest that total tropical rainforest greater than the size of California has been converted mostly for food and fuel.”

It adds, “Species extinction rates are at least 100 times those in pre-human times and are expected to continue to increase. The focus of biodiversity science today, however, is shifting from simply describing problems to solving them.”

The Diversitas OSC2 (Open Science Conference 2)) website is Biodiversity and Society: "Understanding connections, adapting to change.”

The 123 international ministers of the Sixth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in April 2003, agreed to "… achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the local, national and regional levels, as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth." [Diversitas OSC press release]

According to a press release from the Diversitas OSC “World Will Miss 2010 Target To Stem Biodiversity Loss, Experts Say,” these experts have already agreed that the target to stem biodiversity by 2010 will certainly be missed.

Page two contains comments from Dr. Georgina Mace, the vice-chair of the Diversitas program.

Georgina Mace (Imperial College London), who is the vice-chair of the Diversitas program, stated, "We will certainly miss the target for reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 and therefore also miss the 2015 environmental targets within the U.N. Millennium Development Goals to improve health and livelihoods for the world's poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Dr. Mace, of the Centre for Population Biology at Imperial College London, continued to say, "It is hard to image a more important priority than protecting the ecosystem services underpinned by biodiversity. Biodiversity is fundamental to humans having food, fuel, clean water and a habitable climate."

She added, "Yet changes to ecosystems and losses of biodiversity have continued to accelerate. Since 1992, even the most conservative estimates agree that an area of tropical rainforest greater than the size of California has been converted mostly for food and fuel. Species extinction rates are at least 100 times those in pre-human times and are expected to continue to increase."

Dr. Mace, a professor of conservation science at Imperial College London, concluded by saying, "… the situation is not hopeless. There are many steps available that would help but we cannot dawdle. Meaningful action should have started years ago. The next best time is now."

To learn more about Global Biodiversity Loss, please go to the GlobalIssues.org website “Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions.”

Its website states, “… it has long been feared that human activity is causing massive extinctions…. [A] report from Environment New Service (August 2, 1999) says that “The current extinction rate is now approaching 1,000 times the background rate and may climb to 10,000 times the background rate during the next century, if present trends continue."

"At this rate, one-third to two-thirds of all species of plants, animals, and other organisms would be lost during the second half of the next century, a loss that would easily equal those of past extinctions.”

For further information, go to the SciDev.net website “Biodiversity.”

Its website states, “Reconciling the need to protect global biodiversity with the need to promote social and economic growth, particularly in the developing world, has become one of the biggest challenges of the modern era.”

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