The International Community has only recently – since the 1992 Rio Summit in particular – come to the realization that the preservation of biodiversity is an important aspect of sustainable development.
Now, following in the tradition of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) project is in the process of becoming a reality.
The plan to create such an organization first took shape at the January 2005 “Biodiversity: Science and Governance” conference in Paris, as a way to optimize the collection and use of biodiversity data. An 80-member strong Steering Committee representing 70 countries gathered in Montpellier from November 15-17 with the goal of rendering the IMoSEB operational in one year’s time.
Much in the way the IPCC tackles issues related to global warming, one of the objectives is to “create, from all existing networks, a network of international expertise on biodiversity,” indicates Didier Babin, a researcher at CIRAD and Executive Secretary of the consultative process. In this sense, the aim consists in improving how data are stored and shared among researchers, drawing attention to the very real threats against biodiversity and lending authority to information so that it can serve as a reference point for political leaders. According to Didier Babin, then, this organization “will, for example, make it possible to gather and address emerging global issues in support of decision making – biofuels, avian flu, biological diversity index, etc.”
WOAgri supports this initiative for two key reasons. First, because the IMoSEB1, by providing relevant opinions, will guide WOAgri in its thought processes and in the formulation of concrete proposals based on a worldwide conception of agriculture that integrates the environment and biodiversity, among other aspects. And second, because in obtaining reliable data, the IMoSEB will afford policy makers the ability to make decisions based on much stronger foundations and to thereby tackle the current deficiencies in this realm.