Science needn't cost the earth

Background: Key decisions which could help to reverse the current extinction crisis will be decided at the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice or SBSTTA, which takes place in Nairobi, Kenya from 10 to 21 May 2010. Decisions taken in Nairobi will provide a scientific basis for discussions that will take place in October in Nagoya, Japan, at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Scientists, including a delegation from IUCN, will work with the world’s governments to draw up a ‘big plan’ on the best way to save all life on earth, the planet’s biodiversity. Some of the main areas that will be discussed include the biodiversity of protected areas, inland waters, marine and coastal areas, links between biodiversity and climate change, biofuels and invasive species.

Key Issues:

  • "Countries are taking a very shortsighted view of the need to fuel their economies at the expense of nature, so much so that we’re now at crisis point when it comes to the loss of biodiversity,” says Jane Smart, Director, IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group. “This year we have a one-off opportunity to really bring home to the world the importance of the need to save nature for all life on earth. If we don’t come up with a new plan now, the planet will not survive.”
  • “21 percent of all known mammals, 30 percent of all known amphibians and 12 percent of all known birds assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species are under threat,” says Bill Jackson, IUCN Deputy Director General. “If the world made equivalent losses in share prices there would be a rapid response and widespread panic, as we saw during the recent economic crisis. The loss of biodiversity, crucial to life on earth, has, in comparison, produced little response. By ignoring the urgent need for action we stand to pay a much higher price in the long term than the world can afford.”
  • “SBSTTA is a crucial step in the process to stop the extinction crisis. If governments accept the science that’s presented to them in Nairobi, we stand a chance of reversing the current loss of biodiversity,” says Sonia Peña Moreno, IUCN Policy Officer- Biodiversity. “ If they choose to reject the fact that the natural world is in real danger, the effects could be devastating.”

Press Materials and Events:
Thursday 6 May – IUCN statement on SBSTTA
Mon 17 May - 1100-1130 Press Briefing/Statement on IPBES
Wed 19 May - 1100-1130 Press Briefing/Statement on Invasive Species
Fri 21 May - Closing Statement

Photos/Audio/Video/Statements can be downloaded from the Media Section at

Media team:
Nicki Chadwick, Media Relations Officer, t +41 22 999 0229, m +41 79 528 3486, e
Pia Drzewinski, Media Relations Officer, t +41 22 999 0313, m +41 79 857 4072 e

About IUCN

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.
The world's oldest and largest global environmental network, IUCN is a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists and experts in some 160 countries. IUCN's work is supported by over 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. IUCN's headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.

Work area: 
Protected Areas
Go to top