Thursday May 23, 2019

About 150 Scientists Meet to Work on Current State of Global Biodiversity

The warning from scientists and officials gathering here is that by destroying their own planet, people are also threatening mankind — and hurting people

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France's Minister of Ecology Francois de Rugy, delivers a speech at the opening of an international conference on biodiversity (IPBES) in Paris on April 29, 2019. VOA

Officials from 132 nations have been gathering in Paris to look at the state of biodiversity around the world. The meeting is the 7th session of the Intergovernmental Science and Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which will culminate with the presentation of a huge report when the meeting concludes on May 4.

The task is enormous. The challenges even more. About 150 scientists have worked to establish a detailed assessment of the current state of global biodiversity. The 1,800-page report, the first inventory in 15 years, is expected to become a scientific reference in biodiversity

A quarter of the 100,000 species assessed, a tiny portion of the estimated 8 million on Earth, are already threatened with extinction. But “an imminent rapid acceleration in the rate of species extinction” is expected by scientists, according to the draft report. And between 500,000 and one million are expected to become threatened, including “many in the coming decades.”

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The report alleges that human activity as a whole is responsible for a 60 percent decline in global wildlife between 1970 and 2014. Pixabay

The roots of the problem are well known : climate change and human activities. In 2018, a World Wildlife Fund report indicated that half of all wildlife species have disappeared in just 40 years. Deforestation, pesticide use, fishing, are among the culprits.

The report alleges that human activity as a whole is responsible for a 60 percent decline in global wildlife between 1970 and 2014.

“The conversion and destruction of natural habitats, for example for agriculture, and also by direct exploitation of animals and plants, through hunting, fishing or forestry,” says Thomas Brooks, the International Union For Conservation of Nature’s chief scientist.

The warning from scientists and officials gathering here is that by destroying their own planet, people are also threatening mankind — and hurting people.

biodiversity
The warning from scientists and officials gathering here is that by destroying their own planet, people are also threatening mankind — and hurting people. Pixabay

“The continued loss of biodiversity will undermine the ability of most countries to achieve most of the sustainable development goals. In particular, it will undermine our ability for poverty reduction, food and water security, human health and the overall goal of leaving nobody behind,” says Bob Watson, chairman of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosytem Services.

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“The loss of living nature, the loss of biodiversity is something that has dramatic and negative implications for all people in all countries,” says Brooks. “It is well documented that the most severe impacts of the loss of biodiversity are felt by the people who have the fewest resources to be able to respond to those losses.”

This gathering is the first of several events to put the ecosystem at the center of discussions. The next is the G-7 at the end of August in Biarritz, chaired by France, which wants to put biodiversity on the agenda. (VOA)

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Climate Change Affects Developing Countries the Most: UN

The African continent could leverage to its advantage in the global fight against the impacts of climate change

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Climate Change, Developing Countries
the least responsible countries suffer the most from the global threat that emanated from climate change. Pixabay

United Nations officials on Wednesday said developing nations were facing the brunt of climate change despite their little contribution to the problem.

A joint statement was made by Mary Robinson, Ireland’s former President and UN Special Envoy on El Nino and Climate, and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Vera Songwe during a climate-focused meeting in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

Robinson said, “those who suffer the worst effects of climate change are often the least responsible for it”.

She called for the need for climate justice as the least responsible countries suffer the most from the global threat that emanated from climate change, Xinhua news agency reported.

Climate Change, Developing Countries
Developing nations were facing the brunt of climate change despite their little contribution to the problem. Pixabay

Robinson was appointed UN Special Envoy along with Macharia Kamau of Kenya in 2016 to provide the leadership required to tackle climate-related challenges.

ECA’s Songwe said the African continent could leverage to its advantage in the global fight against the impacts of climate change.

“We didn’t create it, but we can profit the most from it. A climate smart economy is an extremely profitable economy. It’s an economy that will create more jobs and leave us cleaner and better,” Songwe said.

Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of the Pan African Justice Alliance, said during the discussion climate justice was not getting the priority it deserved from governments.

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“Africa is most affected and impacted by climate change, but we don’t do much about it. We need strong governance systems to move the climate discourse and actions forward,” he said.

He urged the ECA to fortify collaboration with the African Union and the African Development Bank in line with the ClimDev-Africa programme that’s mandated by African leaders to create a solid foundation for Africa’s response to climate change. (IANS)