In Bonn, Germany, the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity started on Monday 19 May and will continue until 30 May. Its purpose is to give wider exposure to the increasing loss of species biodiversity across the world.
Over 5,000 international delegates are attending the convention to discuss the protection and the preservation of species and habitats, sustainable uses of biological diversity and a fair distribution of access and exploitation.
In April 2002, the Parties to the Convention set targets for 2010 to reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss at global, regional and national levels as a way of alleviating poverty and benefiting all life on Earth.
In his opening speech, Sigmar Gabriel, the German Environment Minister, expressed his view that the world faces a Herculean task in safeguarding animal and plant life from climate change and pollution.
Ahmed Djoghlaf, the executive secretary of the Convention, emphasized the urgency to maintain and promote biodiversity. He added that, ‘Conservation of biodiversity is not about building fences around national parks and keeping humans out. It is about interaction between all species and their natural ecosystem.
‘About two-thirds of the food crops that feed the world rely on pollination by insects or other animals to produce healthy fruits and seeds – included among these are potato crops. Here in Germany there has been a 25 per cent drop in bee populations across the country; in the eastern United States, there has been a 70 per cent decline in bee stocks. If pollinators disappear so too will many species of plants. If we take away one link, the chain is broken.’
The Convention also seeks to establish ways of reducing the impact of rising world food prices, which has already sparked tension in Egypt, Haiti, Pakistan and other countries.
Incidentally, tomorrow, May 22, is World Biodiversity Day.
Convention on Biological Diversity:
International Herald Tribune (The Associated Press)