Speaking Remarks for Angela Cropper, UNEP Deputy Executive Director at UNESCO Biodiversity Launch
Theme: Biodiversity and the Global Economy
Paris, 21 January 2010 - Ladies and gentlemen,
Colleagues; have you heard of the southern gastric brooding frog of Australia?
The species was discovered in the 1980s and the find intrigued scientists.
How did the female frog, which raises young in her stomach, protect the offspring from being dissolved by acids and other gastric juices?
Researchers suspect that the frog must secrete special inhibitory substances that protect the baby frogs from harm.
The research on the gastric brooding frogs could have led to new insights into preventing and treating human peptic ulcers which affect some 25 million people in the United States alone.
But these studies could not be continued because the species became extinct, and the valuable medical secrets they held are now gone forever.
It is the kind of story that is becoming ever more common.
It will become increasingly so unless we stop the erosion and loss of the very living organisms and life-support systems that sustain humanity in the first place.
The southern gastric brooding frog is part of a trail of extinct species that is getting ever longer with losses occurring ever faster threatening the lives, livelihoods and future opportunities for human-beings.
If the 20th century was an industrial age; the 21st century will increasingly need to be a biological one.
One generating enterprises and economies based on new products, processes and ways of doing business inspired and based on biodiversity, nature-based resources and the treasure-trove that is their gene pool.
Let me speak about a few of that multitude of species which abound, about which Professor Wilson advised us.