delware environmental institute

UD researchers contribute to global marine biodiversity protection

UD researchers contribute to global marine biodiversity protection

Researchers at the University of Delaware played a lead role in advancing the global marine biodiversity agenda during the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-10) in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010. The meeting was attended by 17,000 people.

Biodiversity -- the variety of life on Earth -- has taken center stage in 2010, which is designated as the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations. Parties to the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, an agreement by 193 of the world's governments, gathered in Japan to assess progress in achieving global biodiversity targets and decide on actions to reduce biodiversity loss in the next decade.

Marine and coastal biodiversity, which is being rapidly depleted through such impacts as overfishing, rapid coastal development, and pollution, was one of the main topics under discussion at CBD COP-10.

The Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, which is co-chaired by Biliana Cicin-Sain, professor of marine policy and director of UD's Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), co-organized Oceans Day at Nagoya to highlight the major issues related to global marine biodiversity.

The event featured presentations from high-level representatives of governments, international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the scientific community.

Speakers included Jean Pierre-Thebault, ambassador for the environment from France; Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity; Ronald Jumeau, ambassador from Seychelles to the U.N.; Shoichi Kondo, senior vice-minister of the environment from Japan; and David Sheppard, director of the secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

The Oceans Day co-chairs presented a Nagoya Oceans Statement, which calls for the international community to take urgent action to address the major threats to marine biodiversity in the next decade.

UD marine policy graduate student Joe Appiott spent two months in Montreal, Canada, working with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) to coordinate the organization of Oceans Day at Nagoya.

While at the SCBD, he also contributed to a joint publication by the Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Meteorological Organization on climate change and coral reefs.

He also examined best practices in integrated marine and coastal management for a forthcoming Convention on Biological Diversity report.

Photo courtesy Gwenaelle Hamon