World Species Extinction
Rate Now 50-100 Times
Natural Rate
By Margot Higgins
In a meeting of minds in Nairobi, Kenya, representatives of 177 governments are meeting to discuss the world's dwindling biodiversity and man's impact on it. Pictured here are endangered whooping cranes in a captive breeding program at the Patuxent Environmental Science Center in Laurel, Maryland. The numbers alone are frightening. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, species extinction since the year 1600 has occurred at a pace 50 to 100 times the natural rate. That pace is expected to accelerate between 1,000 and 10,000 times the natural pace, the report found.
Today, more than 31,000 plant and animal species are threatened with destruction.
With a global alarm ringing in their heads, the 177 member governments represented at the Convention on Biological Diversity are gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, with a basic but herculean task: to heal the relationship between humanity and Earth's dwindling biodiversity.
"The extraordinary rise in both human populations and consumption levels leaves us no choice but to take innovative and ambitious actions to reverse the widespread destruction of species and ecosystems," said Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme, founder of the convention.
Launched at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity last convened in 1998.
"We must convince and empower people to adopt the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity as their guiding principle," Toepfer said. "Whether it is making tourism environmentally sustainable, developing new strategies for reviving the world's highly stressed drylands or creating a legal regime on access to genetic resources that protects the interests of both local communities and commercial firms, we need to resolve the tough issues without delay," Toepfer said.
This year's meeting will examine the progress made by countries in addressing threats to biological diversity. The ultimate aim is to come up with solutions that can be implemented across the board " at international, national and regional levels.
Copyright 2000, Environmental News Network All Rights Reserved


This Site Served by TheHostPros