2010 UN Biodiversity Year: Urgent Action Needed to Preserve Life

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Friends of the Earth International’s coordinator of the Forest and Biodiversity Programme
Isaac Rojas, in Costa Rica: Email: isaac@coecoceiba.org
Tel: + 506-83 38 32 04 or 506-22 68 60 39 (Costa Rican numbers)

2010 UN Biodiversity Year: Urgent Action Needed to Preserve Life

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - Commenting on today’s announcement by the United Nations that 2010 is
the International Year of Biodiversity and that “the world is invited
to take action to safeguard the variety of life on earth:
biodiversity”, Friends of the Earth International’s coordinator of the
Forest and Biodiversity Programme Isaac Rojas said:

“It is urgent to take immediate action to preserve biodiversity. We
especially need to protect our forests, which host more than 70% of
terrestrial biodiversity. Nearly half of the world’s forests and around
one-third of its species have been lost in the past three decades.

“The 193 countries known as Parties of the UN Convention on Biological
Diversity so far failed to significantly reduce the rate at which
biodiversity is being lost, despite their 2003 pledge to reduce these
rates by 2010.

“Stopping destructive logging is particularly urgent as this outrageous
practice is killing not only biodiversity but also livelihoods. One of
the solutions that we promote is known as community forest management.
It is much more than an alternative to destructive logging: it ensures
the conservation of biodiversity but also provides sustainable
livelihoods for forest-dependent people,” he added.

As biodiversity disappears, people around the world are becoming more
vulnerable to food shortages, health threats and loss of livelihoods.

1.6 billion people rely on forests, including 60 million indigenous
people who are entirely dependent upon forests for their livelihoods,
food, medicines and building materials.

“Another major threat to biodiversity is posed by monoculture tree
plantations. They have grave social and environmental impacts and must
be stopped. Plantations are not forests, they are just the same as
deserts, only green,” added Isaac Rojas.

“The current neoliberal economic system, which promotes privatization,
exports and trade liberalization, is accelerating the decline of our
planet’s biodiversity,” he warned.

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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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