Biodiversity: Science and Govenance conference in Paris, January 24 -28

James Edwards jedwards at GBIF.ORG
Wed Feb 2 17:48:51 CST 2005

Dear Marta -

There were actually two different statements released at the conference in
Paris. The one quoted in Donat Agosti's message was the statement from the
Steering Committee for the conference, and it was meant to build upon the
"Appeal" from the Scientific Committee for the conference. You can find the
full Appeal at

However, even the Appeal does not mention museums, botanical gardens, etc.
Several of us who were at the meeting tried very hard to insert references
to such institutions into the Appeal, but were unsuccessful.

The Appeal does state that "Strong actions must be taken now to inventory,
understand and protect biodiversity" and that "A major effort must be made
to build the capacity, especially in developing countries, to undertake
biodiversity research and implement biodiversity protection". To my mind,
these statements certainly imply the need for institutions such as museums,
herbaria, etc. to house the collections that document the inventories, but
it would have been much better to explicitly make that connection.

Since I was not on the Scientific Committee, I don't know why it did not
mention the institutional infrastructure needed to monitor and understand
biodiversity. I can only surmise that there were lots of requests to include
references to all kinds of institutions and programmes, and that the
Committee decided not to include any of these. For example, many of the
Steering Committee members are also involved in Diversitas, the
international biodiversity research programme, and Diversitas is not
mentioned in the Appeal.

Best wishes,

          - Jim 

Dr. James L. Edwards 
Executive Secretary 
Global Biodiversity Information Facility 
Universitetsparken 15 
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø 

Phone:  +45 3532 1470 
Fax:      +45 3532 1480 

E-mail:   jedwards 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 9:52 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

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