Thu, 21 Jun 2018 Science

West Africa Holds Dialogue On Biodiversity And Ecosystem Services

West Africa Holds Dialogue On Biodiversity And Ecosystem Services

West African Experts are meeting in Accra to facilitate networking activities in support of the implementation of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The IPBES is an independent intergovernmental body set up to strengthen knowledge foundations for a better policy through science, for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.

Particularly, participants would discuss IPBES thematic, methodological and regional and global assessment, and also make proposition of strategies for adoption by various governments.

In addition, the three-day meeting would serve as a platform for experts to exchange ideas on IPBES-relevant issues, activities and strengthen the connection between West African Biodiversity and Ecosystems Service Experts.

Dr George Essegbey, Director of Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, called for strong commitment of stakeholders to ensure that IPBES's objective to provide policymakers with scientific assessments about the state of biodiversity, ecosystems and the benefits they provided to people, as well as the tools and methods to protect and ensure sustainable use was achieved.

A series of reports, he noted, had highlighted that there were clear and substantial evidence that human activities were threatening environmental heritage.

The dangers of land degradation, Dr Essegbey said, cost the equivalent of about 10 per cent of the world's annual gross product in 2010 through the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

He reiterated that Biodiversity, an essential variety of life forms on Earth, continued to decline in every region of the world, significantly reducing nature's capacity to contribute to people's well-being.

'This alarming trend endangers economies, livelihoods, food security and the quality of life of people everywhere…In Ghana and in some other West African countries there is a dangerous battle where forces of evil are working in the destruction of the environment and its sustainability and ultimately threatening the life in general,' he said.

While commending IPBES for its achievements over the past five years, Dr Mouminw Savadogo, Executive Director of West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), noted that the participation of experts from West Africa was low at recent assessments.

He said the meeting would discuss and find novelty strategies to better make their contribution to IPBES implementation and also set up a network of experts for the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystems services.

Mrs Diem Hong Thi Tran, an official of IPBES, said the meeting would enable participants to get a better idea on how to contribute to the IPBES process and how to make use of the capacity building activities.

Professor Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, Chair of Ghana National Biodiversity Committee, would chair various plenary sections on the introduction of IPBES and IPBES capacity building.