Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biodiversity: galvanizing decision-makers into action

04.09.2006
The diversity of life on Earth is shrinking at an unprecedented rate on every level, from gene to landscape. The scientific community now sees this as self-evident, but to date, it has largely failed to attract sufficient political attention to generate enough funding or trigger operations to tackle the crisis.

This is what prompted the idea of setting up an international structure of scientific experts on biodiversity. The final declaration made at the conference on "Biodiversity: Science and Governance", held in Paris in January 2005, called for the launch of international talks on setting up such a structure.

Why has society failed to act in response to this biodiversity crisis? Biodiversity is one of the cornerstones of sustainable development, notably by virtue of the ecological services it renders. Moreover, it is a public asset under the sovereignty of individual countries, which complicates matters somewhat. Lastly, given the complexity of the subject itself and the overlaps between biodiversity and human society, the scientific community working on the issue is itself diverse and still highly fragmented. This is why it is now vital to compile the available information, knowledge and know-how, and set up a group of experts capable of achieving a usable overview of the situation. The aim is to support decisions to be made in favour of the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. This was the view expressed by nineteen authors in an article in the latest issue of the journal Nature, dated 20 July 2006*. This type of structure already exists for climate change issues, with the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change.

Towards an international panel of experts in biodiversity

Talks with a view to setting up an ad hoc structure on biodiversity began early in 2006. They are being led by an International Steering Committee of scientists, government representatives and representatives of international, intergovernmental or nongovernmental organizations and UN specialist bodies. At the request of the French ministries concerned, the Institut français de la biodiversité was chosen to manage and coordinate the Executive Secretariat, and Didier Babin, a researcher with the CIRAD Forestry Department, was appointed Executive Secretary.

Is such a structure really essential? What form will it take? What are the organizational options that would satisfy requirements? The talks should provide answers to all these questions. To this end, it is necessary to identify, define and assess the gaps and requirements that exist at the interface between biodiversity science and decision-making processes. The first step in the talks will be to establish a picture of how decisions are made concerning biodiversity: categories of decision-makers, decision-making methods, traditional knowledge, local practices, exchanges of knowledge, technology transfers, etc.

Pinpointing and solving the problems of transferring knowledge to support decisions

The existing scientific expertise mechanisms (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change, etc) and their usefulness in terms of decision-making are also due to be analysed. To study the sucesses and failures as regards preserving biodiversity, the Executive Secretariat will be consulting the key stakeholders (people, organizations, governments, private sector, international decision-making bodies). The aim is to pinpoint and solve the problems concerning the transfer of knowledge to support decisions. Various case studies will fuel the assessment: how expertise is mobilized in response to crises such as bird flu, invasive species, fishery management, etc.

This first stage is due to be completed in October 2006. Subsequently, at the start of 2007, a second round of talks will be organized on a global level, based on the results of the first round. Following this second round, the International Steering Committee will be making a series of recommendations and proposals on setting up the structure, to be examined in June 2007.

Helen Burford | alfa
Further information:
http://www.cirad.fr/en/actualite/communique.php?id=505

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>