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Draft Statement for the Working Group on Biodiversity and Gene Technology

Conference "European Women for a Sustainable Future"

03.03.2002




Biological diversity or biodiversity, as defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity, includes three major areas: the genetic diversity, the diversity of species of all living organisms and the diversity of biospheres and habitats. All of them are threatened by global warming, the acquisition of land and resources for human utilisation (e.g. by clearing enormous parts of the rain forests) and environmental pollution. The major threat types include habitat loss, direct exploitation, indirect effects, natural disasters, atmospheric pollution, land/water pollution, intrinsic biological factors, and other miscellaneous (unspecified) factors.

The 2000 IUCN Red List highlights 1,130 species of mammals, 1,183 species of birds as species that could be lost in the next few decades if the global community does not take adequate actions to prevent this. It includes a total of 11,046 species threatened with extinction and 816 species already extinct. According to estimates: Already ¾ of crop plant diversity and half of livestock diversity have been lost since 1900 and 1 - 2% of crop plant diversity and 5% of livestock diversity are being lost every year; 43% of the remaining livestock diversity is endangered; 1% of tropical forests is lost every year, that is 29 hectare per minute, and 1/5 of sweet water fish is already extinct or endangered.

A diminishing of biodiversity is not only a threat to the organisms concerned but also to mankind, most immediately so where the diminishing genetic diversity of crop plants is concerned as the world’s food security is at stake. This statement is, therefore, focusing mainly on biodiversity in the context of agriculture. This is also the area of biodiversity where women are most immediately and specifically concerned.

Download: Full Version of the Draft