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 Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

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: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores

24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

PPPL physicist uncovers clues to mechanism behind magnetic reconnection

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>