The Opening of the Paris International Scientific Conference on "Biodiversity, Science and Governance", under patronage of French President, Mr. Jacques Chirac, UNESCO, 24-28 January 2005.
Paris - Nairobi, 26 January 2004 - In his statement at the opening of the Paris International Conference on Biodiversity, Science and Governance, UNEP Executive Director, Mr. Klaus Toepfer, called for “strong science and effective governance mechanisms” to back up the political target of 2010 as the date for a significant reduction in the rate of loss of biodiversity set by world leaders in the 2001 World Summit on Sustainable Development. Mr. Toepfer said, “If we fail to demonstrate measurable success by 2010, political commitment will be undermined; public interest will be lost; investment in biodiversity research and management will be reduced; environmental institutions will be further weakened.” He pointed out the importance of Paris conference in charting the way forward, emphasizing that “in UNEP we are ready to play our part”. Mr. Toepfer congratulated President Chirac on his initiative and Mr Matsuura for hosting the event at UNESCO.
The conference aims to take stock of the current knowledge, shortcomings and controversial issues with a view to opening up a dialogue between scientists, politicians, and economic decision-makers on the management of biodiversity.
Bringing together over 1000 participants, including scientists, political and economic decision-makers, the conference focuses on the core governance and research issues of biodiversity. Panelists will discuss the development of global management of biodiversity and the establishment of a scientific consensus on which political decisions can be based.