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Biodiversity

(c) Dom Dada

Biodiversity is life. From the air that we breathe and the food on our plates to the medicine we take – natural resources form the basis for all these benefits and many more. This is why biodiversity – which is particularly extensive in the countries of the South – should be conserved and utilised sustainably. This can only be achieved if the use of resources takes place under equitable conditions that safeguard the interests of the countries where genetic resources originate, and if consideration is given to the indigenous communities.

  • Of the 340,000 or so known plant species in the world, about 7,000 are utilised by humans in some way.
  • More than one third of the 47,677 species studied by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are threatened with extinction.
  • About 1000 billion Swiss francs are earned each year from products based on biological resources (especially medicines and agricultural products).
  • Almost all of the global population's calorie requirements are met by a mere 30 plant species.
  • Since 1992, the Biodiversity Convention has called for fair sharing of the benefits from the use of biological resources – but hardly any industrialised countries have implemented this requirement.
  • Only four countries in the world are not members of the Biodiversity Convention: Andorra, the Vatican, South Sudan and the USA.

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