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WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY? 2
THE GLOBAL CRISIS 3
THE CANADIAN CRISIS 4
THE INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE: BACKGROUND TO THE CONVENTION 6
THE CONVENTION 8
THE CANADIAN RESPONSE 10
CANADIAN BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY 11
INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS 12
CANADIAN ACHIEVEMENTS 13
FEDERAL INITIATIVES 13
Initiatives Relating to Article 8 of the Convention 13
Initiatives Relating to Other Articles of the Convention 16
APPENDIX I ~ RATIFICATION LIST 21
APPENDIX II ~ NATIONAL REPORTS 23
APPENDIX III ~ ARTICLE 8 24
In an effort to answer the research question ~ ‘what is the Biodiversity Convention, and what are its goals and successes to date,’ this paper will provide a look at the international biodiversity convention and Canada’s role and response to the process. Beginning with a definition of the term ‘biodiversity,’ the following sections will discuss the global and Canadian biodiversity crises. Because of the issue’s severity, responses were developed internationally and in Canada. These response measures, specifically the Biodiversity Convention, and the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, and the goals within them are shown. Next, discussion focuses on the international and Canadian achievements, in terms of implementing the Convention and in particular, Article 6. Canadian achievements are measured by looking at various legislation that support the conservation of biodiversity. In conclusion, the overall process is slowly successful, when the objective is for nations to develop and begin implementing strategies and action plans. The actual conservation of biodiversity is virtually impossible to measure.
What is Biodiversity?
In general, biological diversity, or biodiversity in short, refers to the number and variety of living organisms in the web of life on Earth. It is defined in terms of genes, species, and ecosystems that are the result of over 3,000 million years of evolution. In Article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, “biological diversity” is defined as the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems. These ecosystems are the species habitat, and different ecosystems contain different sets of species and ecosystem processes. Implied here is the understanding that the best way to protect species and the genetic diversity within species is to protect their habitats. The human species depends upon biological diversity for its own survival. Therefore, the term biodiversity can be considered a synonym for "life on Earth".
The Global Crisis
All human life depends in countless ways on biodiversity; it is essential to agriculture, the development of medicines, clean water, flood control, resource-based industries, for example fisheries, forestry, and the maintenance of ecological balance. Although the extinction of species is a natural part of the evolutionary process, human activities today are solemnly threatening both species and ecosystems. According to the CIELAP article, Biodiversity Law and Policy in Canada: Review and Recommendations ,
Over the past several hundred million years, the average rate of species extinction (due to natural causes) has been estimated as two species per year, matched by the formation of new species at roughly the same rate. This "background" rate of extinction was punctuated by a number of mass extinctions likely caused by cataclysmic events such as meteors striking the Earth. Compared to the geological "background" rate, the current rate of extinction has been conservatively estimated to be approximately 27,000 species per year, or about 74 per day, or 3 per hour (or some fourteen times the "background" rate). One quarter of the world's species may be extinct by the year 2050.
The unprecedented rate of species loss is due to unnatural causes by human activities that lead to habitat loss and fragmentation, the overexploitation of living resources, pollution and other effects. In addition, while these human-induced extinctions are an environmental calamity on their own; they also have severe implications for social and economic development. Biological resources account for at least 40 per cent of the world's economy and 80 per cent of the needs of the poor. The maintenance of biodiversity is also important because the more abundant the diversity of life, the greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development, and adaptive responses to other global environmental challenges such as climate change.
Globally, species are being lost faster than humans can even verify their existence. To date, an estimated 1.7 million species have been identified, yet exact number of the Earth's existing species is still unknown. Estimates vary from a low of 5 million to a high of 100
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Biodiversity, Environment Canada, Environment of Canada, Environmental conservation, Convention on Biological Diversity, Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, Biodiversity Convention Office, Biodiversity action plan, Canadian Biodiversity Information Network, Conservation biology, Sustainable forest management, International Union for Conservation of Nature
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