Major Conference To Draw World's Top Scientists

5/2/2002

Discussions to Focus on Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Human Health

Washington, DC - How global warming impacts species and the consequences for human health is among several topics to be addressed at a major scientific conference, entitled, "Healthy Ecosystems, Healthy People," June 6-11 in Washington, D.C.

Scientists from around the world will explore the connections between biodiversity, ecosystems and human health, as well as solutions to current environmental challenges. Scheduled to speak are Edward O. Wilson, the two-time Pulitzer Prize award winner, Stanford University's Paul Ehrlich, Conservation International President Russell Mittermeier, and Earth Policy Institute President Lester Brown. Argentina's Lilian Corra, Vice President of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, will also speak, as will Canada's David Schindler of the University of Alberta.

The conference is being organized by the International Society for Ecosystem Health (ISEH) and the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS) at Conservation International.

The program has four main themes. The first day will focus on linkages between biodiversity and ecosystem health; the second day will concentrate on the connections between ecosystem health and human health; day three will address the links between biodiversity and human health; the final day will integrate the recommendations made in the first three days and result in specific policy recommendations.

"Earth's most precious plant and animal species have never been under as much threat as they are today," said Gustavo Fonseca, Executive Director of the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International. "This conference is designed to address the most critical challenges to biodiversity and the health of our planet, and to produce tangible solutions to those challenges."

Topics will include:

  • The Future of Life
  • Climate Change and Biodiversity
  • Human Population Growth: A Forgotten Factor in Ecosystem Health
  • Infectious Disease: Ecological Insights for Conservation and Bioterrorism
  • Assessing the Health of "Urban Ecosystems"
  • Health, Environment and Economic Development

"Only through this type of collaboration across various disciplines-natural, social and health sciences-can we actually succeed in making significant leaps forward in protecting our planet's health," said Robert Costanza, President of the International Society for Ecosystem Health.

Dr. David Suzuki, host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's popular science series, The Nature of Things, will speak at the conference banquet on Saturday, June 8th. The author of more than 30 books and a world leader in sustainable ecology, Dr. Suzuki is also an internationally respected geneticist.

Joining conference organizers ISEH and CABS are several co-sponsors: The World Health Organization, The United Nations Environment Programme, The Fogarty Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences and The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The conference, expected to draw approximately 1,000 scientists, policy-makers and academics, will be held at the Marriott Wardman Park on Connecticut Avenue, NW, in Washington, D.C.

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The Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS) based at Conservation International, strengthens the ability of CI and other institutions to accurately identify and quickly respond to emerging threats to Earth's biological diversity. CABS brings together leading experts in science and technology to collect and interpret data about biodiversity, to develop strategic plans for conservation and to forge key partnerships in all sectors toward conservation goals.

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