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Smithsonian calls for renewed international cooperation in sharing biodiversity information

The Smithsonian Institution has pledged its support in helping governmental and non-governmental organizations in protecting the world's biodiversity. In an effort to address the ramifications of current research activities and assess the state of biodiversity around the world the Smithsonian is hosting the second annual Botanical Symposium at the National Museum of Natural History on April 5-6. Program information and on-line registration are available at http://persoon.si.edu/sbs/.

"The human assault on the Earth's natural environments was acknowledged in 1992 by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)," said Dr. John Kress, head of the museum's botany section and co-organizer of the Botanical Symposium. "Yet regrettably, the scientific goals of the CBD are being challenged through the intense regulation of biodiversity. The ability of scientists throughout the world to carry out vital projects in support of the tenets of the CBD is being jeopardized."

"We are calling for global cooperation among scientists to utilize new technologies to enhance the sharing of information on biodiversity," Kress said.

At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for the conservation, sustainable development and equitable sharing of the benefits of biodiversity. This strategy was transformed into the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that has now been signed and/or ratified by more than 180 nations. The responsibilities, priorities and practices of taxonomists and natural historians for discovering and describing biodiversity have been significantly altered since the Earth Summit.

"The Smithsonian supports international cooperation among scientists," said Dr. J. Dennis O'Connor, Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian Institution and acting director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural H
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Contact: Michele Urie
urie.michele@nmnh.si.edu
202-786-2950
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
5-Apr-2002


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