Biodiversity Policy Challenges

Science  18 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5947, pp. 1474
DOI: 10.1126/science.1180935

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Global responses to the deterioration of biodiversity have been slow to emerge, but next month the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme hosts a meeting* in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss the next steps in establishing a new science/policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services.The response in this arena still lags far behind negotiations related to climate change, but the meeting is a chance to boost international action, based on strong scientific evidence. An important motivation for creating this interface is meeting the goals of international multilateral agreements, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Unlike the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which has the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, these environmental conventions lack a pre-convention science assessment and have no provision for subsequent government-endorsed, independent science. The meeting in Nairobi will debate, among other issues, how best to make up for this crucial omission.