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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

Director-General opens the twelfth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on the Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity

On 2 June 2007, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koїchiro Matsuura, and France’s Minister of State for Ecology and Sustainable Planning and Development, Mr Jean-Louis Borloo, opened the twelfth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on the Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

Messrs Nicolas Hulot, the eminent French journalist and environmentalist, Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Christian Prip, Chairman of the Subsidiary Body on the Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Bakary Kante, Director of the Division of Environmental Conventions of UNEP and representing the Executive-Director of UNEP, also took part in the opening ceremony.

In his opening address, the Director-General highlighted the close relationship between UNESCO and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Subsidiary Body on the Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, recalling that the latter’s first meeting had been held at UNESCO twelve years ago. Mr Matsuura emphasized that UNESCO could play an important role in advising the CBD through its core scientific programmes as well as through its capacity for interdisciplinary. He went on to note that “the challenge of preserving biodiversity can only be met through a broad-based approach, involving not only the sciences, but also education, culture and communication” and that UNESCO was in a unique position to provide the CBD with input in areas such as the interface between biodiversity and cultural diversity.

The Director-General underlined the important work of the World Heritage Convention in that regard, noting that 22 new sites had been recently added to the world heritage list, increasing the total to 851 UNESCO world heritage sites of which 166 are natural sites and 25 are mixed natural and cultural sites. He also highlighted the important work of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, which had pioneered an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to biodiversity, now reflected in the ecosystem approach adopted by the CBD. UNESCO, through MAB, now has 507 biosphere reserve sites in 102 countries.

Mr Matsuura underscored the importance of ensuring that policy makers be aware and act upon the scientific findings on biodiversity to ensure that the CBD-2010 target to significantly reduce biodiversity loss at global, regional and national levels be achieved. The Director-General expressed his satisfaction that the meeting would address the interrelations between climate change and biodiversity and noted that the recent creation of a UNESCO task force on climate change gave UNESCO and the CBD another opportunity to collaborate on this important issue.

Mr Matsuura ended his address by inviting those present to explore how cooperation between the CBD and UNESCO’s scientific programmes could be further strengthened to effectively contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the CBD-2010 goals.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 088-2007
  • 02-07-2007
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