Scientists must ensure biodiversity research information reaches decision-makers, say biologists Harold Mooney and Georgina Mace.
Global responses to biodiversity loss have been slow, say the authors — partly because environmental agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) lack solid science assessments. We have no baselines and standards for these and lack information on biodiversity at the gene, species and ecosystem levels.
The authors argue that establishing a robust biodiversity science–policy interface is critical to reducing the rate of biodiversity loss and meeting environmental Millennium Development Goals. As it is, we will certainly miss the CBD's 2010 target on lowering biodiversity loss.
"The situation is not hopeless," say the authors, but we urgently need an effective dialogue between scientists and policymakers to ensure that decisions are backed up with good science.
The UN Environment Programme is hosting a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, next month to discuss how to establish a science–policy interface for biodiversity. The meeting is a chance to boost international action based on good scientific evidence. But scientists must be centrally involved — the authors call on participating countries to bring their best scientists as well as their top policy negotiators to the meeting.