Head of UN urges 'a wake-up call' to save biodiversity

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
February 14, 2010



Speaking at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that "business as usual is not an option" to protect the world' s biodiversity. The failure of governments worldwide to meet their pledges to protect biodiversity by 2010 is "a wake up call" according to Ki-moon.

Ki-moon told over 400 attendees, including scientists, UN experts, and development experts that "we need a new biodiversity vision […] We must ensure the long-term viability of our seas and oceans [...] We must manage our forest sustainability […] We must preserve coral reefs so they can continue to protect coasts from storms and support livelihoods."

The director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the museum, Eleanor Sterling remarked that "we've lost sight of the biodiversity crisis because of other global challenges like climate change. But now we need to step back, understand the causes and consequences of our continued impact on life on the planet, and develop realistic and comprehensive strategies that allow dynamic human communities, economies, and life to thrive."

Increasingly scientists and policymakers have underlined the link of biodiversity preservation to the economy. A rich biodiversity provides a number of environmental services, such as pollination, food security, pest control, freshwater, medical breakthroughs, and carbon sequestration.

In 2002 nations pledged that by this year they would achieve a 'significant reduction' in biodiversity loss. They have failed: if anything the extinction crisis today is worse than it was eight years ago.

Extinctions are estimated to be occurring at 1,000 times the natural background rate, and many ecologists believe we are entering a period of global mass extinction similar to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs—only this time the cause is not otherworldly, like a comet, but due to human impacts.

The gathering was hosted by Conservation International, Fordham University, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Foundation, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.




Butterfly feeding on pink flower in Bali, Indonesia. Photo by: Rhett Butler.







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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (February 14, 2010).

Head of UN urges 'a wake-up call' to save biodiversity.

http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0214-hance_unbiodiversity.html