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Earth observation highlighted at UN biological diversity conference
Date:6/3/2008

Addressing the global issue of biodiversity loss, participants from all over the world recently gathered in Germany to attend the UN's Convention of Biological Diversity Conference of Parties. During the conference, data from Earth observation satellites was highlighted as playing a crucial role in the conservation of biological diversity and sustainable development.

In recognition of the importance of biological diversity in sustaining the Earth's population of six billion, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) was signed by 150 government leaders at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. As a result, world governments have agreed to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The Conference of Parties (COP) is the Convention's governing body and advances implementation of the Convention through the decisions it takes at periodic meetings.

The ninth meeting of the COP was held in Bonn, Germany from 19-30 May and was attended by almost 7000 participants from 191 countries. ESA hosted a side event at COP9, in which speakers from various UN agencies highlighted the overarching role that Earth observation (EO) satellites play in providing vital information to implement and assess the progress of several UN treaties related to biodiversity. The side event was chaired by Gerald Braun who is from the German Space Agency (DLR) and an ESA delegate. Representatives from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, which are all supported by ESA, expressed their satisfaction and confirmed the usefulness of EO data. Nick Davidson from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands introduced the GlobWetland project as an example of how EO data can be used for wetland assessment, monitoring and management.

He said that, "Often made up of complex and inaccessible terrain, monitoring ecological changes in wetlands without the
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
Mariangela.DAcunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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