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ESA launches new project to protect biodiversity

The world's biodiversity is vanishing at an unprecedented rate ?around 100 species every day ?due to factors such as land use change and pollution. Addressing this threat, world governments agreed through the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to reduce significantly the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. To support this initiative, ESA has kicked off its new DIVERSITY project.

Biodiversity, the variety of life including ecosystems, species, populations and genes, is of grave importance for sustaining the planet's six billion people. The loss of biodiversity threatens our food supplies, energy and medicines. For instance, up to 80% of the world's population currently relies on plant and animal-based medicines for their primary health care needs. The sustainable use of biodiversity's components will not only save ecosystems and species, but it may also save the foods and medicines of tomorrow.

"The United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (UNCBD) agreed on a set of headline indicators to assess the progress made towards this target. DIVERSITY will make a contribution to the required monitoring efforts that will help us to determine whether we are making progress and which management and policy measures are most effective and thereby support decision-making," the UNCBD Secretariat Robert Höft said.

DIVERSITY project services and products are being developed to relate to the different areas where Earth observation (EO) technology may contribute to the conservation and monitoring activities of the different actors involved in UNCBD in Central America. ESA has identified four main users: the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Secretariat of the UNCBD, the Centro American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) and MarViva.

Based on the initial user requirements, the following products and services will be generated covering the entire Centro American region, one of the
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Source:European Space Agency


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