The symposium from June 20-24 in Madagascar's capital will be attended by government leaders, international organizations, conservation groups and local communities. Speakers will include Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana; Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the U.N. Millennium Project; and environmental leaders from around the world, particularly Africa.
Major themes for the symposium organized by Conservation International include the status and importance of African biodiversity; assessing and valuing the ecosystem services it provides; using debt relief to properly manage natural capital and reduce poverty; and how biodiversity conservation can help Africa reach the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2000 to achieve significant progress in alleviating poverty worldwide by 2015.
In addition, the symposium will present the latest research on links between the environment, poverty and health, and new strategies on resource management and governance to realize the greatest benefits from nature.
"No one can argue that nature provides the cheapest and most effective source of clean water, food, natural resources and other benefits of ecosystem services," said CI President Russell A. Mittermeier. "The challenge is how to maximize these benefits in a sustainable way through biodiversity conservation, so that they exist in perpetuity. That is exactly what the Madagascar symposium will be tackling."
The symposium will include five plenary sessions that will be synthesized at the end to produce the Madagascar Declaration, a virtual blueprint for how African biodiversity can contribute to sustainable development and alleviate poverty and disease transmission.
Contact: Tom Cohen