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UNESCO organizing two events to launch International Year of Biodiversity

Paris, 14 January

UNESCO organizing two events to launch International Year of Biodiversity
  • © Judy

This year, 2010, has been proclaimed International Biodiversity Year by the United Nations and kicks off with an inaugural event (21-22 January) and a scientific conference (25-29 January) organized by UNESCO at headquarters. These activities aim to present an overview of what we know about biodiversity and to boost awareness of the alarming rate of biodiversity loss.

Population increase, over-consumption and galloping urbanisation have multiple consequences, including the increasing rarity of certain species of plants and animals, pollution, the over exploitation of land and the sea, as well as the spread of invasive alien species. Already, 17,000 plant and animal species are threatened with extinction (IUCN, 2009). Scientists estimate that 60% of the planet’s ecosystems are no longer able to provide the ecological services that we depend upon, such as food production, fresh water and climate control.

To draw attention to this situation and to formulate responses, UNESCO is holding a High Level Inaugural Event on 21 and 22 January, with the participation of Edward. O. Wilson, entomologist and Professor at Harvard University (USA); Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity; Angela Cropper, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme; Monique Barbut, Director General of the Global Environment Facility; Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, President of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. A travelling exhibition aimed at informing the public on biodiversity issues will open at UNESCO headquarters on 21 January.

This event will be followed on 25 to 29 January by a conference on “Science policy and biodiversity”. To be opened by UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, the conference will address themes including the relationship between biodiversity and development, the importance of taxonomy, awareness-raising and education on biodiversity issues. Participants will include Gilles Bœuf, President of the French National History Museum in Paris; Thomas E. Lovejoy, Chair of Biodiversity Research at the Heinz Centre in Washington (USA); Robert Whittaker, President of the International Biogeography Society (IBS); Paul Matiku, Executive Director of Nature Kenya and Glaucia Drummond, of the Biodiversitas Foundation (Brazil).

On 25 January, there will be a screening of the documentary film Océans, by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud at 6 pm. The film is based on the results of a large-scale research programme on the oceans, called Census of Marine Life, whose main findings will be presented at the conference.

A press conference will be held at UNESCO on 21 January at 10.30 am. The conclusions of the forthcoming report of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Global Biodiversity Outlook 3) will be presented.

  • Author(s):Media Advisory N°2010-02
  • 15-01-2010
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