Biodiversity: Science and Govenance conference in Paris, January 24 -28

Donat Agosti agosti at AMNH.ORG
Tue Feb 1 11:20:24 CET 2005

Sorry for crossposting with taxacom. But I think, the following might be
of interest to the TDWG community, since access and exchange of data was
one of the major points in this conference

Here the link to
e Paris declaration and attached a statement from the "Biodiversity:
Science and Governance" conference in Paris last week.

It was a big meeting with over 1,000 participants initiated by the
French president Chirac and the director General of UNESCO, Koichiro
Matsuura, including among others the president of Madagascar and various

At least in one way, this was a quiet unusual meeting. This time, real
data played an important part. And it was not the North who made the
case, but the President of Madagascar and Mexico who actually, following
their top politicians, are now using taxonomy based data to make
political decisions.

It was a clear demonstration of the yield of sharing globally data,
modern technological advances, and the importance of single scientists
who actually have the vision to build up such infrastructures and do it.

It was also a clear sign of the importance of institutions like GBIF and
with it the drive to develop, or help to develop such tools as digir and
other protocols which at the end help to go back to single specimen
rather than getting lost somewhere in expert opinions, and to make each
single, open access collecting an important part in this global

The increasing awareness that disregard of environmental services are
leading to big environmental and humanitarian disasters for which not
business is paying for, but in most cases the poor - one of the
disconnects of the privilege to eat cheap shrimps and the much higher
impact of the Tsunami on areas with removed mangrove forests due to
shrimp farming was a clear warning finger.

Still, it was just another conference, but the British, seconded by the
French promised to make biodiversity an important issue at the
forthcoming G8 summit hosted by the UK. Hopefully, we can pick up on
this development...

Statement from the International Conference on "Biodiversity: Science
and Governance" This statement is based on the presentations and
discussions during the conference and the "Appeal" by the Scientific
Committee of the conference. Recalling the commitment of governments to
the global target of significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity
loss by 2010 as a fundamental condition for sustainable development.
Recognizing that:
.       Biodiversity is a vital and poorly appreciated resource for all
of humankind that underpins
the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;
.       Biodiversity is being irreversibly destroyed by human activities
at an unprecedented rate,
and this demands urgent and significant action to conserve, sustainably
use and equitably share the benefits of biodiversity;
.       Unless the rate of loss of biodiversity and the resulting
degradation of ecosystem services are
significantly reduced, efforts to combat poverty, reduce hunger and
provide clean water and a healthy environment will be undermined;
.       A major effort is still needed to fill the gaps in knowledge,
but there is already sufficient
information available for improved management of ecosystems. Therefore
the participants of the international conference on "Biodiversity:
Science and Governance" urge:
.       Governments to take all necessary actions, including capacity
building, needed to realize the
2010 biodiversity target, consistent with their sustainable development
.       Civil society, including local and indigenous communities and
the private sector, to take
actions consistent with the 2010 biodiversity target;
.       The scientific community to develop greater national and
international coordination;
.       That the necessary public and private resources be mobilized for
the inter-disciplinary
scientific research and monitoring required to improve our current
understanding and to address the cost of conserving biodiversity;
.       Improved communications and partnerships among the scientific
community, decision
makers and civil society, including local and indigenous communities;
.       Parties and Secretariats to the multilateral environmental
agreements to built greater
cooperation and synergy.
And recommend, in response to the call for action made by President
Chirac at this Conference, the launch of an international
multi-stakeholder consultative process guided by a balanced
multi-stakeholder steering committee. This process would assess the need
for an international mechanism which would:
.       provide a critical assessment of the scientific information and
policy options required for
.       build on existing bodies, current and recent activities.

Dr. Donat Agosti
Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian

Email: agosti at

Dalmaziquai 45
3005 Bern
+41-31-351 7152

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