nternational Conference on Biodiversity 2020

The current rate of biodiversity loss is highly alarming with severe negative implications for Natural and Agricultural Ecosystems that beside their intrinsic value produce food, feed and other essential goods and services for humankind. Since diversity in nature is closely linked to diversity in culture, the loss of biodiversity also exhibits direct consequences on the fabric of societies, especially in countries where large proportions of the society life and survival depends on biodiversity.
Several political attempts try to lift the biodiversity issues high on the agenda of decision makers, but the implementation processes remain difficult challenges. Most of all the real connection between policy agenda and local societies is the key-point and rests an unsolved problem. The success of biodiversity policy depends on the involvement of all the sectors of society and the integration of biological with cultural diversity perspectives. High education – the mainstay of science and society, and pillar of capacity building and public awareness – is deeply affected by these weak relationships. As a consequence there are no social drivers for the real implementation of the policy agenda.
Despite the fundamental role played by the multilateral environmental agreements and international organizations in our society, the gap of communication, coordination and knowledge between these institutions and high education is deep and widely known.
The field of biodiversity, in its two fold dimensions - cultural and biological, is an emblematic case. The paramount importance of this field is highlighted by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 65/161 that proclaimed the period from 2011 to 2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. This decision only came two months after the CBD COP-10: the approval of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and equitable benefit sharing and the strategic plan 2011-2020 represents a milestone in the biodiversity policy.
The ambitious "2010 Goal" of the CBD, adopted ten years after the Rio-Summit at COP-6, could not be met. As a sort of precautionary measure, Decision VI/26 lists 29 obstacles to the 2010 Goal, the first one being "lack of political will and support to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity". But also "limited public participation and stakeholder involvement", "lack of public education and awareness at all levels", and "lack of engagement of scientific community" were listed amongst those obstacles.
In addition the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has developed jointly with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the agreed programme of work on the Global Initiative on Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) (Decisions VI/19, VIII/6) that, inter alia, underlines the need to incorporate biodiversity as a theme in the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
Nevertheless policy agenda, programmes of work and negotiations processes of the CBD as well as the interrelated programmes of other organizations - UNESCO and FAO, among others - are not included, in overwhelming of cases, in the universities systems of studies.
More over according to the institutional framework of the CBD, education should be a fundamental element in the value chain of the CBD implementation and high education is of paramount importance: academic institutions should play a key role for capacity building and public awareness which are the milestones for good governance and effective policy making.
In particular in the developing world universities are the only institutions: (1) time by time present at local level, (2) with a long lasting and very appropriate mission – education and research (3) with the largest and most suitable human resources and target – researchers, teachers, students, young people who represent the future of a country.
However, it is also widely known the gap between education and capacity building and the very limited role universities play in disseminating and linking the CBD policy agenda and programmes of work to the local context to which they belong.
How to tackle these challenges? The key point is to bridge the gap of coordination, communication and knowledge between universities and the CBD policy agenda and programmes of work.Within this context the International University Network on Cultural and Biological Diversity and a Network of Indian Universities and other Organizations are planning to organise an “International Conference on Biodiversity 2020 : Linking Policy to Education, Science and society" during 3rd to 5th October 2012 before COP-11 and MOP-6 in 2012 in Hyderabad, India, aiming at addressing these challenges. We also involving National, Local Government Departments, Universities, Faculties, Students, Professionals, Institutions, NGO’s and Biodiversity Management Committee Members in International Conference as a platform of dialogue focused on the linkage between Biological and Cultural Diversity and the Interface between Academic and Policy perspectives.
The Conference will introduce a new paradigm promoting Universities platform as social driver for the meeting between Science, Education, Society and the international multi-scale policy on cultural and biological diversity. It also aims at analysing the results of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio + 20.
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3 Oct - 5 Oct 2012
Hyderabad
India
meeting website