Researchers call for better ecosystem management

- Meeting environmental challenges and at the same achieve the Millennium Development Goals will require a better and more coordinated management of ecosystems, say participants of a recent Norway/UN Conference on ecosystems and biodiversity

Photo: J. Lokrantz/Azote

The participants of the Norway/UN Conference on “Ecosystems and people — Biodiversity for development — The road to 2010 and beyond", calls for a better interaction ahead of the Climate Change conference on Bali in December 2007.

- The world faces the combined challenges of combating climate change, desertification and the loss of biodiversity, while at the same time ensuring achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Meeting these challenges will require a better and more coordinated management of ecosystems. This is necessary to maintain biodiversity and the resilience of these systems to ensure the continued provision of ecosystem services to safeguard future well-being of communities, they say in a joint statement.

Professor Thomas Elmquist of Stockholm Resilience Centre were among the key contributors to the final outcome of the statement.

228 participants
228 scientists, policy advisors, and NGO and community representatives from 75 countries have met at the 5th Norway/UN Conference on Biodiversity.

The aim of the Conference was to explore further the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystem services and people, and the challenges of meeting the 2010 Biodiversity target.

Specific tasks to reach united goals
The conference presents a number of opportunities for combined contribution to the objectives of the Climate Change Convention, Convention on Biological Diversity and the Millennium Development Goals:

- Adaptation to climate change

- Reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation - and management of the natural environment to maximize the role of ecosystems as carbon sinks

- Protecting forests, wetlands and other natural ecosystems has been demonstrated to be a cost-effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as contributing to adaptation.

Need for international instruments
- However, realizing these multiple benefits is not automatic. It requires that we make use of knowledge of biodiversity and ecosystem structure and functioning. We have to make sure that international instruments are mutually supportive to each other. This implies that climate change adaptation and mitigation activities, including production and use of biofuels, ‘do no harm´ to biodiversity or to the rights and possibilities of indigenous and local communities, the statement says (pdf).

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