February 2008

Second meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group on Protected Areas (WGPA-2) and Thirteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-13)
of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
11 February 2008 – 22 February 2008 (Rome, Italy)
Excerpted from the ENB Summaries

WGPA 2 adopted two heavily bracketed recommendations on the review of implementation of the programme of work and on options for mobilizing financial resources for its implementation, for consideration by the CBD’s ninth Conference of the Parties (COP 9), which will take place from 19-30 May 2008 in Bonn, Germany.

SBSTTA 13 conducted in-depth reviews of the CBD work programmes on agricultural biodiversity and forest biodiversity, and addressed scientific and technical issues of relevance to the implementation of the CBD’s 2010 target to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss relating to marine and coastal biodiversity, inland waters biodiversity, invasive alien species, and biodiversity and climate change. The meeting also considered the modus operandi for addressing new and emerging issues relating to the conservation and use of biodiversity. SBSTTA 13 adopted seven recommendations, which will be forwarded to COP 9.

TK featured during the discussions, particularly under the theme of agricultural biodiversity at SBSTTA. Regarding impacts of agriculture on biodiversity, many countries called for a balanced approach that considers both negative and positive impacts, in particular the positive impacts of traditional farming practices. Documentation of traditional farming practices and knowledge and successful practices was proposed as an issue in need of enhanced research. The discussion about on-farm conservation centered on participatory decision-making processes and adequate references to traditional farmers and indigenous and local communities and to the components of biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions. In the final report, SBSTTA recommends, inter alia, that the COP recognize the need to promote the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities in the implementation of the expanded programme of work.

Read the ENB Reports…
WGPA-2 meeting page…
SBSTTA-13 meeting page…

Promote traditional health sciences: knowledge panel
liveMint.com [Wall Street Journal India] – 25 February 2008

MUMBAI, INDIA: Trying to boost India’s Ayurveda, yoga and other traditional health-care systems, the National Knowledge Commission on traditional medicine has recommended establishment of a 10-year national mission on traditional health sciences of India and an initial investment of Rs1,000 crore. The mission’s initial programme would include creating four important academic and research institutions for Indian systems of medicines and would mainly focus on creating teaching and research institutes for traditional health sciences along the lines of the Indian Institute of Science and Indian Institute of Technology, setting up a comprehensive informatics programme, digitizing India’s medicinal manuscripts and supporting a major science initiative on Ayurveda, among others. Read the article…

IPEG enforces IPRs of APEC genuine products
Agencia Peruana De Noticias – 25 February 2008

ANDINA, PERU: The APEC Intellectual Property Rights Expert’s Group (IPEG) will develop an administrative system for the enforcement of the intellectual property rights (IPR) of the holders of traditional knowledge, innovations and culture living in the APEC region. The initiative seeks to provide effective measures to prevent piracy and counterfeiting of genuine APEC products and avoid its negative long-run consequences for economic growth and jobs. In terms of outcomes, the Chair of APEC Intellectual Property Rights Experts’ Group, Mr. Sivakant Tiwari, said that one of the pursued goals is to ensure better practices in the trade of these products. “This system will also deepen integration among the APEC member economies”, he added. Read the article…

Thousands of languages face extinction, UN warns at start of International Year
UN News Centre – 21 February 2008

PARIS, FRANCE: The International Year of Languages kicked off today with a warning from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that more than half the world’s 6,700 spoken languages are threatened with extinction and every two weeks on average one language disappears somewhere around the world. In a message marking International Mother Language Day, which was also celebrated today, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura stressed the importance of all languages to everyday life. “Far from being a field reserved for analysis by specialists, languages lie at the heart of all social, economic and cultural life,” Mr. Matsuura said. UNESCO warned that when a language fades, so does a part of the world’s cultural tapestry, adding that globalization is placing many languages under ever greater threat. Today, experts estimate that 96 per cent of the world’s languages are spoken by only 4 per cent of the total population. “Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression – valuable resources for ensuring a better future are also lost,” UNESCO said in a statement. Read the article…

Edible insects provide food for thought at UN-organized meeting
UN News Service – 19 February 2008

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND: Experts from around the world have gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand, at a meeting organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to discuss the human consumption of insects, some of which have as much protein as meat and fish. “Among forest managers, there is very little knowledge or appreciation of the potential for managing and harvesting insects sustainably,” noted Patrick Durst, senior FAO forestry officer. “On the other hand, traditional forest dwellers and forest-dependent people often possess remarkable knowledge of the insects and their management.” Read the article…

Lifting the Veil on Traditional Chinese Medicine
Science Magazine via SciDev.Net – 8-15 February 2008

DALIAN, CHINA: Chinese scientists are preparing to begin a 15-year project to screen the constituents of traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs). Hoping to rebut TCM critics, the ‘Herbalome Project’ will use high throughput screening, toxicity tests and clinical trials to identify active ingredients and contaminants in known TCMs — of which there are as many as 400,000 combinations of 10,000 herbs and animal extracts. Read the summary… Read the article…

Climate Fight Must Enlist Biodiversity And Communities
IIED Media Room – 18 February

UN-led efforts to address climate change, conserve biodiversity and fight poverty could cancel each other out unless the close links between these global challenges are given more attention, says a paper published by the International Institute for Environment and Development. “Policymakers and scientists searching for solutions to climate change should recognise the value of traditional farming systems that sustain agricultural biodiversity,” says IIED researcher Krystyna Swiderska. “Local knowledge, practices and innovations will be crucial to adaptation, biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. Many communities are already using agricultural -biodiversity and traditional practices, such as seed exchange and field experimentation, to adapt to climate change. Farmer-researcher collaboration can bring added value that each alone could never realise.” Read the press release…

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