diversitas conference

October 9, 2009, 15:45
Filed under: Biodiversity loss

We are losing species 100 times faster than new ones are being generated. And this biodiversity loss is accelerating … fast. It will get much worse by the end of this century. We are entering the 6th massive extinction event in Earth’s history … this one is caused by the dominance of one species …. humans!” So says Dr Bob Scholes, leading ecologist at the CSIR and, vice-chair of the international biodiversity research coordination group DIVERSITAS, and local organiser of its open science conference taking place in Cape Town 14 – 16 October 2009.

“Seeing that biodiversity is the machinery that keeps our planet’s life-support systems going, we need to be worried. But, if you’re tired about bad news about the environment, the good news is that people can make a difference in protecting precious biodiversity, even in their immediate neighbourhoods. Unlike other pressing global problems like climate change, local action has local benefit as well as global benefit. There are things that need global cooperation – such as looking after migratory species at both ends of their range – but a lot can be done nearer to home.

“Small adjustments in farming practices such as leaving corridors of biodiversity and stepping back from excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides can have massive positive impact on biodiversity, without making the farm unproductive or unviable.”

At this conference about 600 of the world’s leading biodiversity experts will deliberate over new ways of slowing down the rate of biodiversity loss and setting new goals for biodiversity conservation. The will select the most important biodiversity science challenges for future research and prioritise what must be protected. “We’re past the point where we can save everything. We have to start making choices and focus our energies on what is most important to save,” says Dr Scholes.


October 6, 2009, 13:40
Filed under: Press releases | Tags: , ,

Media Advisory—Press Conference Cape Town 14 October 2009, 10:30, Cape Town International Convention Centre

The world’s oceans, seas and marine ecosystems, such as seagrass, salt marshes and coastal wetlands, are daily absorbing and removing large quantities of carbon from the atmosphere. They are a crucial – and perhaps overlooked – natural ally in strategies to combat climate change.

Yet these carbon capture and storage systems are being undermined by human activity harming their ability to ‘sequester’ greenhouse gas emissions.

The Blue Carbon report, compiled in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), puts some hard figures on the carbon capturing potential of the marine environment and on the impact of marine degradation on climate change.

It also outlines the way markets might begin paying developing countries for conserving and enhancing the marine environment’s carbon capture and storage services (CCS) and the links between healthy oceans and adaptation to climate change.

Currently, several developed countries are considering spending billions of dollar on CCS at power stations while the CCS services of natural systems, such as the seas and oceans, are tested and probably more cost effective.

The report is launched some 60 days ahead of the crucial UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen.

Where: Diversitas Conference, Cape Town Conference Centre, South Africa.
When: 14 October 2009 at 10.30 am
Who: Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, along with the report’s authors.

For more information please contact:
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson/Head of Media, on Tel: +254 20 7623084, Mobile: +254 733 632755, or when travelling: +41 795965737, or e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

RSVP: Marina Joubert, Acting Communication Person for the Diversitas Conference
Email: marina@southernscience.co.za
Mobile (SA) 083 409 4254

October 4, 2009, 20:58
Filed under: Conference announcements

Please contact marina@southernscience.co.za if you are interested to register as a media representative (working journalist) for this conference. Also let me know if you can’t attend, but would like to receive the press releases and news from this event. Thank you, Marina Joubert

Biodiversity experts meet
September 29, 2009, 10:36
Filed under: Conference announcements

DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference:
600 global biodiversity experts meet in Cape Town Oct. 13-16

Amid deepening concern that the pace of biodiversity loss is worsening in many places, some 600 biodiversity experts will converge in Cape Town October 13-16 for the DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference.

Experts say changes to ecosystems and losses of biodiversity have continued to accelerate. Since 1992, the most conservative estimates suggest that total tropical rainforest greater than the size of California has been converted mostly for food and fuel. Species extinction rates are at least 100 times those in pre-human times and are expected to continue to increase. The focus of biodiversity science today, however, is shifting from simply describing problems to solving them.

The conference takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. With an overarching theme of “Understanding connections, adapting to change,” the 25 conference symposia topics fall into three broad fields:
* Strengthening biodiversity science (including a new global monitoring system and the impacts of climate change, land use changes, biodiversity loss);
* Supporting the interface between science and policy making (including new information synthesis mechanisms, assessing progress towards the world’s 2010 biodiversity targets and the success of economic incentives for biodiversity preservation) and;
* African issues (including the reconciliation of biodiversity conservation and food production)

A detailed news release will be offered prior to the meeting with DIVERSITAS and other experts are available for advance interviews. Full conference details are online at http://www.diversitas-osc.org

For any media enquiries or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Terry Collins +1-416-538-8712; +1-416-878-8712 (m), tc@tca.tc
Marina Joubert, +27 83 409 4254, marina@southernscience.co.za