Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The experts agree on an equivalent of the IPCC for biodiversity

When will there be an intergovernmental panel on biodiversity along the lines of the IPCC for climate change?

The specialists are hoping such a structure can be set up by the end of 2008. In November, almost 80 of them met in Montpellier and agreed on the remit for such a panel: to provide both independent and credible expertise, build regional and local scientific capacity, make knowledge more accessible and improve the interface between science and policy.

These conclusions are the fruit of two and a half years of international and regional deliberations, organized on all five continents by the Steering Committee for an IMoSEB (International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity)*. The specialists are planning to organize an intergovernmental conference in 2008, in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which should serve to determine how the structure could be set up.

So that nobody can say in future "we didn't know"

In particular, the conference should take account of the results and consequences of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) conducted between 2001 and 2005 to estimate the impact of human activity on the environment and, conversely, the way in which such changes affect future prospects for terms of human health and wellbeing. The biodiversity experts and those involved in the MEA have a similar view of the current issues surrounding biodiversity. It is not enough to draw up a list of threatened or extinct species. Biodiversity needs to be seen as a whole, in terms of management but also of environmental services rendered, for instance from the point of view of adaptation to climate change.

The disappearance of some species can have dramatic consequences for animal - and subsequently for human - health. For instance, entire regions, such as certain valleys in Nepal, no longer have any pollinators. Another example is the appearance in certain geographical zones of living organisms - seafood toxins, animal viruses, fruit tree parasites - that disrupt the ecosystem and can have serious economic and sanitary consequences.

One idea is to set up a panel of experts drawn from the range of existing networks. International bodies and NGOs need to be involved in the process. All the multilateral agreements are also concerned: the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), the World Heritage Convention, the Ramsar Convention on wetlands, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), that on Migratory Species (CMS), and regional agreements, not forgetting the conventions on climate change and desertification. Everyone needs to realize the merits of setting up a heavyweight federative structure to ensure that nobody - politicians, scientists, economic players or public opinion - can say in future "we didn't know".

The French government is backing the initiative

The ball is now in the politicians' court. The French government has confirmed its support for the initiative. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the Secretary of State for Ecology, who was at the Montpellier meeting, stressed the importance of the initiative with regard to the recent "Grenelle de l’Environnement" talks in France. The Minister for Higher Education and Research, Valérie Pécresse, who met Didier Babin, a CIRAD researcher and executive secretary of the process towards an IMoSEB the day after the event, is now due to submit the idea to her peers.

* The executive secretariat of IMoSEB has been entrusted to the Institut français de la biodiversité (IFB), of which CIRAD is a member.

Helen Burford | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Second research flight into zero gravity

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

How Does Friendly Fire Happen in the Pancreas?

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>