Reports and Announcements

World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development
31 March - 2 April 2009, Bonn, Germany

Five years into the Decade, the conference at Germany followed four objectives:

  1. To highlight the essential contribution of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to all of education and to achieving quality education
  2. To promote international exchange on ESD
  3. To carry out a stock-taking of DESD implementation
  4. To develop strategies for the way ahead
The conference, attended by participants from 150 countries exchanged best practices on Education for Sustainable Development from all world regions. The participants developed mechanisms for enhanced cooperation in the implementation of the UN Decade, especially focusing on the exchange between developing countries, those in transition and industrialized countries.

At the end of the conference, a declaration reflecting the debates and proposing guidelines for the implementation of the UN Decade was adopted. The conference was organised by UNESCO and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO.

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2010 International Year of Biodiversity
Highlights from the statement of Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, at the occasion of the DPI Briefi ng for the community of NGOs on Biodiversity - The Basis for Human Well-Being: Celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010

Call for Assistance in Enhancing Public Awareness We need your assistance with increasing public awareness of the importance of biodiversity. We need your assistance to ensure that environmental issues become a core component of decision making across a variety of sectors.
We also need you to help us to integrate out work across a variety of issue areas.

Biodiversity loss is not a stand alone problem and cannot be tackled through separate initiatives that merely target species lost as an issue separate from poverty, climate change, water scarcity, growth in demand, development, confl ict, and the many other challenges that face our world. Civil society can act to support these efforts – to provide support, advice and vigilance such that they continue. There is increasing recognition that the true value of biodiversity and the services provided by ecosystems must be refl ected in our economies.

It is hoped that the study on the ‘The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity (TEEB), led by Mr Pavan Sukhdev, will provide the rationale for the gradual internalization of the costs of biodiversity loss and other environmental degradation into our accounts.

Civil society organizations can support this, provide research, and examples of “green success stories” for 2010, which can demonstrate the validity of these approaches. In this climate of economic crisis, we all need to identify opportunities for major shifts towards a green economy
as UNEP is proposing. The International Year offers you an opportunity to highlight the relationship between biodiversity and a number of other issues and influence the international agenda in 2010 and beyond.

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How BD contributes and extent of degradation

By the year 2000, only about 73% of the original global natural biodiversity was left. The strongest declines have occurred in the temperate and tropical grasslands and forests, where human civilizations fi rst developed. In the last 300 years, the global forest area has shrunk by approximately 40 per cent. Forests have completely disappeared in 25 countries, and another 29 countries have lost more than 90 per cent of their forest cover. Since 1900, the world has lost about 50% of its wetlands. Half of wild marine fi sheries are fully exploited, with a further quarter already overexploited. A striking aspect of the consequences of biodiversity loss is their disproportionate but unrecognized impact on the poor. For instance, if climate change resulted in a drought that halved the income of the poorest of the 28 million Ethiopians, this would barely register on the global balance sheet – world GDP would fall by less than 0.003%.

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