Conclusions of global biodiversity forum presented today

"Key to protecting natural resources lies in empowering those whose livelyhoods depend on biodiversity for decision-making and local action"

 Nairobi, 15 May, 2000 (IUCN) - Farmers, scientists, community representatives and leaders of indigenous peoples from around the world met during the last three days at the 5th session of the Global Diversity Forum (GBF) held at ICRAF* headquarters, Nairobi. Sharing experiences on such crucial themes as poverty, arid lands and local communities' rights, the 200 GBF participants have agreed on a set of recommendations to be formally presented today to the 5th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity. The Convention was launched at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and has been ratified by 177 governments so far.

Addressing the global issue of the sharing of benefits from biological diversity, the GBF participants made the following main recommendations:

  • Most conventional action for poverty alleviation leads in the long term to the destruction of natural resources, paradoxically resulting in even more poverty. Participants of the GBF therefore request governments, donors, and the private sector to integrate biological resources management into poverty alleviation strategies.
  • Noting that around 1.6 billion people depend on farm-saved seed, and that up to 75% of some varieties of key crops has already been lost in the last decades, the GBF calls upon the Conference of the parties to consider agricultural biodiversity as a priority to ensure food security in the world. Furthermore, GBF participants strongly advocate that farmers be part of the decision-making process related to agricultural biodiversity.
  • Despite numerous calls for action over the years, the loss of traditional knowledge continues. To address this, the GBF asks that indigenous people and local communities be enabled to participate at all levels of decision making, especially at the highest decision-making level of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • In view of the critical human and economic dimensions relating to the global trade in genetic resources, participants to the GBF recommended the adoption of several legal measures to facilitate payments by those countries that commercialize such resources to the countries providing these genetic resources.

Says Jeffrey McNeely, Chief Scientist of the IUCN - The World Conservation Union: "The Key to the success of the Convention for Biological Diversity is in its implementation on the ground. Therefore, we must ensure that farmers, fishers, industrialists, tourists, and even the military are fully aware of how they can help conserve biodiversity and use biological resources sustainably."

For further information on the GBF-15 or to organise interviews, please contact Nadege Tissot, cell phone in Nairobi: 072 526-256

For further information on the GBF, please contact Caroline Martinet, GBF Coordinator, IUCN-The World Conservation Union , 28 Rue Mauverney, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland, Tel: +41.22.999-0001; Fax: +41.22.999-0025 E-mail: or visit our website:

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