Fickle fate of NHMs

Wed Feb 2 08:25:45 CST 2005

Hello Marta,

Your concern for the fate of university based natural history museums, and
many other NH museums otherwise, is important to me too. In fact, there is a
concerted effort by the SPNHC (Society for the Preservation of Natural
History Collections) to address this problem. If you are not a member, you
should be. The cost is about 30.00 US a year. The society is actively
concerned in such matters and you should be on board. Most of the membership
consists of conservators, collection managers, curators and museum
management types from the USA, Canada, and the UK. Please see the SPNHC web
site at and seriously consider becoming a member.
European museums need to better represented in the SPNHC. The next annual
meeting is in London at the NHM in June, I believe. As this is the first
annual meeting not in North America, I am certain there will be a good
showing of European museum workers.


Kelly Sendall
Senior Collection Manager,
Invertebrates, Fish and Herpetology
Royal British Columbia Museum
675 Belleville Street
Victoria, BC CANADA V8V 1X4
250.356.8197 fax
<mailto:ksendall at>

-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU]On
Behalf Of Marta C. Lourenco
Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2005 12:52 AM
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Biodiversity: Science and Govenance conference in
Paris, January 24 -28

Dear list,

I am not a biologist. I subscribe Taxacom because I am doing a research on
university museums and collections in Europe and regularly the topic of
collections comes up in this list.
A significant number of European university collections - of natural history
but not only - are under threat. It is a silent threat, not much discussed
unlike recent threats/closures in the US. It seems to me that in the US
neglect, lack of funding or interest, shift in research policies are more
known and openly discussed.
In any case, and although there are recent encouraging signs of hope, we
still have a big problem in my view.

I am surprised that in such a high profile Declaration on Biodiversity there
is not one single reference to collections or museums, botanical gardens or
Why is it? I am genuinely interested in hearing your views about this.

If you prefer, please feel free to reply off list.

Best wishes,


Marta C Lourenco
Museum of Science
University of Lisbon
Rua da Escola Politecnica 56
1250-102 Lisboa
Tel. +351964037535
Fax +351213909326
mclourenco at

----- Original Message -----
From: "Donat Agosti" <agosti at AMNH.ORG>
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 11:32 PM
Subject: [TAXACOM] Biodiversity: Science and Govenance conference in Paris,
January 24 -28

> Here the link to
> (
> e Paris declaration and attached a statement from the "Biodiversity:
> Science and Governance" conference in Paris last week.
> It was a big meeting with over 1,000 participants initiated by the
> French president Chirac and the director General of UNESCO, Koichiro
> Matsuura, including among others the president of Madagascar and various
> ministers.
> At least in one way, this was a quiet unusual meeting. This time, real
> data played an important part. And it was not the North who made the
> case, but the President of Madagascar and Mexico who actually, following
> their top politicians, are now using taxonomy based data to make
> political decisions.
> It was a clear demonstration of the yield of sharing globally data,
> modern technological advances, and the importance of single scientists
> who actually have the vision to build up such infrastructures and do it.
> It was also a clear sign of the importance of institutions like GBIF and
> with it the drive to develop, or help to develop such tools as digir and
> other protocols which at the end help to go back to single specimen
> rather than getting lost somewhere in expert opinions, and to make each
> single, open access collecting an important part in this global
> endeavour.
> The increasing awareness that disregard of environmental services are
> leading to big environmental and humanitarian disasters for which not
> business is paying for, but in most cases the poor - one of the
> disconnects of the privilege to eat cheap shrimps and the much higher
> impact of the Tsunami on areas with removed mangrove forests due to
> shrimp farming was a clear warning finger.
> Still, it was just another conference, but the British, seconded by the
> French promised to make biodiversity an important issue at the
> forthcoming G8 summit hosted by the UK. Hopefully, we can pick up on
> this development...
> -------------------
> Statement from the International Conference on "Biodiversity: Science
> and Governance"
> This statement is based on the presentations and discussions during the
> conference and the "Appeal" by the Scientific Committee of the
> conference.
> Recalling the commitment of governments to the global target of
> significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 as a
> fundamental condition for sustainable development.
> Recognizing that:
> .       Biodiversity is a vital and poorly appreciated resource for all
> of humankind that underpins
> the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;
> .       Biodiversity is being irreversibly destroyed by human activities
> at an unprecedented rate,
> and this demands urgent and significant action to conserve, sustainably
> use and equitably
> share the benefits of biodiversity;
> .       Unless the rate of loss of biodiversity and the resulting
> degradation of ecosystem services are
> significantly reduced, efforts to combat poverty, reduce hunger and
> provide clean water and
> a healthy environment will be undermined;
> .       A major effort is still needed to fill the gaps in knowledge,
> but there is already sufficient
> information available for improved management of ecosystems.
> Therefore the participants of the international conference on
> "Biodiversity: Science and Governance" urge:
> .       Governments to take all necessary actions, including capacity
> building, needed to realize the
> 2010 biodiversity target, consistent with their sustainable development
> goals;
> .       Civil society, including local and indigenous communities and
> the private sector, to take
> actions consistent with the 2010 biodiversity target;
> .       The scientific community to develop greater national and
> international coordination;
> .       That the necessary public and private resources be mobilized for
> the inter-disciplinary
> scientific research and monitoring required to improve our current
> understanding and to
> address the cost of conserving biodiversity;
> .       Improved communications and partnerships among the scientific
> community, decision
> makers and civil society, including local and indigenous communities;
> .       Parties and Secretariats to the multilateral environmental
> agreements to built greater
> cooperation and synergy.
> And recommend, in response to the call for action made by President
> Chirac at this Conference, the launch of an international
> multi-stakeholder consultative process guided by a balanced
> multi-stakeholder steering committee. This process would assess the need
> for an international mechanism which would:
> .       provide a critical assessment of the scientific information and
> policy options required for
> decision-making;
> .       build on existing bodies, current and recent activities.
> --------------------------------------
> Dr. Donat Agosti
> Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian
> Institution
> Email: agosti at
> Web:
> CV:
> Dalmaziquai 45
> 3005 Bern
> Switzerland
> +41-31-351 7152

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