Advocatus Diaboli

This blog is about things, issues, ideas, and concepts on subjects focusing on Canada, Canadian Issues and Affairs and those that affect Canada and Canadians from afar.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Alberta News and Views - January 30, 2007 - Issue 3

This past weekend I attended a one-day Symposium exploring how biodiversity data from nature channels into sustainable conservation policy at national and international levels in Montreal at the redpath Museum at McGill University. Aside from the food and music I enjoyed, there was some serious nature to what I was there for.

David Green Director of the Redpath Museum, stated that, ‘the scientific community largely failed to have a significant influence in the debate on the Federal Endangered Species legislation.’ He stated, this was a result of, ‘where science was trumped by politics.’ There is a very clear pattern emerging from the Federal Government where scientists need to comprehend the limited role that ‘scientific advice,’ plays in government thinking.

As an example, Marco Fest-Blanchet of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) suggested that the Federal Government, ‘is reluctant to list northern species and species subject to harvest and economic gain on any protected list.’

Among the presenters was David Cooper, Senior Program Officers of Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity, who spoke of the decline of the ecosystem’s biodiversity and how this, ‘will have negative consequences for human being well being.’ He explained how the framework of the Convention could work to promote sustainable and efficient agriculture, by applying the ecosystem approach to land planning, and our consumption habits.

Annie Webb from the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity spoke of how through effective conservation and management of biodiveristy will depend in large part, ‘on our understanding of the components of biodiversity.’

Part of how we will understand the components Webb said will be, ‘acknowledgement of the existence of the taxonomic impediment,’ and how easy it really is to remove the impediment, through the Global Taxonomic Initiative (GTI), program of the Convention of Biological Diversity.

From the Canadian Museum of Nature, Roger Baird spoke of how the Alliance of Natural Histories of Canada (ANHMC) to establish a network of museum executives representing independent institutions under the one umbrella to catalogue on a universally accessible data-base the 30,000,000 taxonomic specimens held by these independent institutions, which will give Canadian and world wide researchers an invaluable resource in studying biodiversity.

Robert T. McFetridge the Executive Secretary of the Federal Biodiversity Information Partnership (FBIP), explained the history and goals of the FBIP, which are to provide an integrated response to a core need for leadership to ensure open access to all biodiversity data and information held by the Federal government in Canada.

The World Wildlife Fund’s initiative to create a, ‘first ever global map of freshwater ecoregions,’ was introduced and explained by Rebecca Ng from the WWF’s Conservation Science Program. This innovative program will be turned in to a universally interactive web site.


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