German Experts Issue Urgent Call to Protect Biodiversity

BERLIN, Germany, September 14, 2000 (ENS) - Up to one-fifth of the world's land mass should be given legal protection as a global network of nature reserves, German government advisors said Wednesday.

The German Advisory Council on Global Change called for urgent action to counter a what they called a "dramatic loss" of biological diversity.

They recommended formation of an international biosphere policy and an intergovernmental panel on biodiversity modelled on the existing intergovernmental panel on climate change.

leopard

Endangered snow leopards like this one cling to existence in the mountainous regions of central Asia, from Russia and Mongolia down through China and Tibet to the Himalayan regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. (Photo courtesy Frank Kroger)
The Advisory Council on Global Change fears that current rates of human induced biodiversity loss will cause severe environmental damage.

Shrinking wild gene pools put food production at risk and the destruction of ecosystems undermines the general functioning of the "earth system," putting the world's climate also in danger, the council said.

The group calls for development of existing nature reserve systems into a global, interconnected network covering 10 to 20 percent of the earth's land surface.

It estimates that this would cost euros 25.6 billion (US$22.1 billion). About a quarter of this has already been spent, so financing the remainder should not be an impossible task, the group says.

The Advisory Council accepts that Germany is already involved in international biosphere protection. But the group called for a new interministerial working group on national biodiversity policy to implement commitments on conservation and sustainable use policies defined in the 1992 United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, an international agreement.

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