THE INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA
PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY AND BIOSAFETY
CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE
A year of extreme weather events presented clear indications of our increasing pressure on the planet while a devastating tsunami revealed our continuing vulnerability (see Indian Ocean Tsunami section). An unprecedented rise in carbon dioxide levels coincided with stronger evidence of melting glaciers and ice-caps. Alarming surveys of the rates of species loss converged with studies showing just how hard our numbers and consumption are pressing on the planet's capacity to supply our needs.
Human responses moved in parallel. International measures to control invasive marine species and hazardous chemicals, and to share the benefits of plant genetic resources for food security and sustainable agriculture entered into force, and the Kyoto Protocol received sufficient ratifications for it to do so in early 2005. And to symbolize our growing recognition of the link between environmental well-being, conflict prevention and long-term human security, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the first time to an environmentalist, Kenya's Wangari Maathai.