Launch of the Biodiversity Synthesis Report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Montreal
As a way to mark the theme for IBD 2005, the Secretariat, in collaboration with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and McGill University, co-hosted the launch of the Biodiversity Synthesis Report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in a day-long celebration at the Faculty Club of McGill University.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a five-year programme initiated by the United Nations Secretary-General, represents one of the most comprehensive reviews of the state of ecosystem health and its relationship to human well-being. The Biodiversity Synthesis Report has an important bearing on this year’s theme for the International Day for Biological Diversity, as it underlines the importance of biological diversity not just in providing the services upon which life depends, but also those enabling ecosystems to be resilient and robust in the face of change.
Over one hundred guests joined the Secretariat in celebrating IBD 2005 and launching the report. Guests included representatives of the consular and diplomatic communities of Montreal and Ottawa, policy-makers from all levels of government in Canada, educators and researchers from Montreal, and representatives of the media. The programme can be found here
A morning press conference was opened by Jacques Hurtubise, vice-principal of research for McGill University, who welcomed the opportunity for collaboration with the CBD. Walter Reid, director of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and Anantha Duraiappah, the co-chair of the Biodiversity synthesis report, presented the main findings of the report to the audience.
Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan delivered an address on this year's theme
. He pointed out that ecosystem services and biodiversity will be in greater demand in the future - just at the time that evidence of their decline is becoming even more clear. He urged Parties to implement the programmes of work of the Convention with all haste.
Representatives of all three levels of government from the host country, Canada delivered remarks. The City of Montreal was represented by Alan DeSousa, and the federal government was represented by Robert MacLean, Director General of Environment Canada. The government of Quebec was represented by the honourable Thomas Mulcair, Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and Parks of Quebec.
Following lunch, a two-session mini-seminar provided an opportunity for a more in-depth discussion of the report from a scientific viewpoint. Jo Mulongoy, of SCBD, chaired a panel that explored the Assessment and its impact on the CBD and on the debate over sustainable development. Panelists included Walter Reid, Anantha Duraiappah, David Cooper of the SCBD and Oliver Coomes, editor of the journal World Development.
A second panel explored the impact of the Assessment Report on biodiversity research. An eminent group of McGill researchers including Catherine Potvin, Andrew Gonzalez, Brian Leung and Colin Chapman discussed new directions in research that draw from the findings of the report.