"A great deal of awareness-raising is still much needed with respect to the planetary threat posed by the loss of so many species. The focus of biodiversity science today, though, is evolving from describing problems to policy relevant problem solving," says Stanford University Prof. Hal Mooney, DIVERSITAS Chair.
"Experts are rising to the immense challenge, developing interdisciplinary, science-based solutions to the crisis while building new mechanisms to accelerate progress. Biodiversity scientists are becoming more engaged in policy debates."
Five roundtables between top science and policy specialists are scheduled on key issues such as efforts to create a science-based global biodiversity observing system (GEO-BON) to improve both coverage and consistency in observations at ground level and via remote sensing.
Says DIVERSITAS vice-chair Prof. Robert Scholes, who heads both GEO-BON and the local organization of the Cape Town conference: "GEO-BON will help give us a comprehensive baseline against which scientists can track biodiversity trends and evaluate the status of everything from genes to ecosystem services. The lack of such information became acutely apparent during preparation of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and in formulating the CBD's 2010 targets."
Others, meanwhile, are creating an international mechanism to unify the voice of the biodiversity science community to better inform policy making, its function akin to that of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In Nairobi Oct. 5-9, environment ministers from countries the world over will consider the creation of such a body, called IPBES (the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), which would require UN General Assembly approval.
Interdisciplinary work underway to address key issue areas also include:
|Contact: Terry Collins|