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Good morning. My name is Jorge Soberon. I am a professor at the University of Kansas. and I will be teaching part of this course, the part that is related to transfer from science and knowledge to policy. I am very sorry that I will not be able to be with you personally ... I would really like to be there. partly because I like the city of Capetown a lot partly because there is no substitute for the one to one interaction However .. I can't .. So.. this is the second best thing I will be giving Town a set of videos like this one and I hope I will do my best to transmit through video which is not a medium I'm not really familiar with my ideas and my experiences about science to policy in the world of biodiversity I will divide my talks in several presentations first one is about what is the meaning of biodiversity in the world of policy where biodiversity is not something that affects the livelihoods of.. say farmers, ranchers or villagers or something that is of the interest of scientists but biodiversity as is related to actions of government or decision taking at many levels biodiversity governance takes place at different levels therefore you need to be specific of what level you are talking about so firstly, I am going to talk about biodiversity in the context of policy Second thing.. I will be presenting a similar discussion on what I mean by "policy" when we talk about moving from knowledge to policy what the meaning of "policy" is again in a context of biodiversity. then I am going to talk about instances of transfering this conveyor belt between the knowledge and the decision taking and finally I will be quoting specific example from Conabio the institution I used to work for 13 years a federal goverment agency in Mexico and I will be presenting a few examples of what I will be describing but over in real cases in Mexico so.. having said that, I will begin talking about policy and biodiversity. We'll know that biodiversity is a very complicated set of phenomena. Biodiversity includes the ex-systems, the landscapes and their functioning How they structured, how they function, how they are placed in the planet Biodiversity also includes the speies that constitute those ecosystems and of course their genetic processes, their molecular processes that take place inside the species so this entire wide set of phenomena is what constitutes biodiversity There is a huge amount of knowledge about biodiversity also there is a huge amount of ignorance it's probably much more ignorance than knowledge but we shouldn't commit the error of disregarding all the knowledge that is available this knowledge is in the form of what the scientists have been studying for centuries now and it is accumulated into paper, journals, into books, into databases but it was work accumulated into form of knowledge that different local people have about their own environments and that is a very substantial and very valuable knowledge and is also accumulating nowadays in what is called citizen science which is a different kind of information and data about different aspects of biodiversity So, all this knowledge, we would like to transfer into decision making in ways of affecting the ways that decisions are taken That is what we will be talking about during the seminar but first what I need is to go over the major issues that biodiversity relates with policy and those major issues are, in the first place what is called conservation. "Planned conservation" Conservation is simply that we don't want certain species to disappear or certain populations to disappear. We want them healthy, keeping the capacity to eveolve and the same applies to landscapes and ecosystems during their functioning so, biodiversity conservation is related to maintaining certain structures and certain components and certain processes of life on earth working well and properly This is done first by concentrating that this is traditional Traditionally people have concentrated first on species We first need to have good records of what species are present in a particular spot we need to know what are their population sizes, are they fluctuating or not, are they healthy and so on. This right now is done mostly for birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and some species of plants. and very seldom for insects, more than a few species of butterflies, damselflies sometimes and never for the more obscure things like mites, nematodes, many of the small invertebrates, small bugs, XXXX-microbes and that's a pity because probably those little things are the ones that in a certain deep sense around the world, that we don't know much about them so we can't talk much about them so that's the first thing The second thing is conservation of places For that we need to have an idea of how valuable they are from any perspective and the perspectives about value may change tremendously Some people care about a place because it is beautiful, for spiritual value That may be even a religious value, very often, not uncommon at all as you may know There are also places that are important because of the ecosystem services that they provide water-catchments, areas of protection against tsunamis, say things like that. There are areas that are important because they are the places where certain important species come to breed for instance mangroves, and many others so you need to have an idea of what places, what combinations, what landscapes, what ecosystems How well are they maintained and somehow how valuable they are the value, I repeat, depends on the eye of the beholder It's not the same value if you are a community that holds a forest grove as holy because your ancestors have been doing it forever or because you are a scientist and you are interested in species that are rare and just occur there completely different reasons so value is an excess in self in policy making and this is the first set of activities or the first aspect, or the first point of view about biodiversity that is related to a policy.. "Conservation". OK.. so one thing is conservation for the sake of conservation the species or whatever non-economic or non-used resource we may have the second area is conservation when we are focussing on species for reasons of use from XXXX reasons, because we need to conserve certain species because we want to, for reasons of use or economic value and the best example of this is medicinal plants Medicinal plants have been used for ever by the human species Even there are many animals that use medicinal plants in all the XXXX in certain things that they chew so it has been reported for chimpanzees for instance But there are a many other animals that are also capable of getting to know that certain species of plants are useful when they are not feeling very well. So medicinal plant need to be properly managed and to do that, as for the others, we need knowledge. The thing with medicinal plants what makes it very complicated is that very often there is substantial amount of knowledge in the form of traditional knowledge and traditional knowledge can go back thousands of years and in many cases it has been documented very detailed for instance in the "Vedas" of India, in China there are very substantial bodies of knowledge about medicinal plants which are also compiled and documented in written form. the same applies to several of the meso-American nations for instance the XXXXXs the XXXXs when they conquered Mexico they compiled a large number of documents on the knowledge of the XXXXs about their own medicine. and surprisingly enough, that was used for centuries, until very recently, Until the nineteenth century most of the Mexican XXXXX was based on Indian XXXXX of time. So this is the second area where we need to know things in order to manage properly We need to know the sizes of the populations of course we need to know which ones are medicinal. We need to know how well they are doing we need to know how to get the right extracts on time, which is hugely complicated to a degree that makes you wonder how on earth the traditional people that developed these medicines were capable of finding such complicated sets of mixtures and procedures to extract the right principle from the right part of the plant, sometimes at the right time of the month or season of the year. It's very very complicated. So we need to know the whereabouts, the parts, the substances that are inside and the population dynamics and how to extract them. That used to be the case until very recently Nowadays you can get the genes and that adds a lot of complication Because now with the genes you don’t have to produce a plant in large quantities the way it used to be in the past for instance for XXXXX, that you have to extract the bark from the tree so you have to have the plantations of trees Nowadays that can be done, not always, but very often, just with a gene sequence and that opens a very very horrible can of worms which is called bio-piracy So governments, citizens and communities need to know very good information about the medicinal plants in order to be able to take good decisions on how to manage them whether to allow exporting or not, to whom, under what circumstances and that is a very complicated problem. Besides medicinal plants and other very obvious groups of species that require management and decisions by governments, by users and by local groups is forestry and many countries have still large forests in the land of their states there are tropical rain forests, tropical dry forests, there are temperate forests there are all kinds of forests in most ecosystems of the world. some of them really very exciting most of them are one way or another on the sites of the companies that want to extract the timber This can be a very corrupt business with pay-offs going over, therefore the permits and things like that Unfortunately, many times decisions are taken not even considering the scientific facts of how to properly manage a forest a forest can be managed properly, even a tropical rain forest can be managed properly there are text book examples of how to do the proper management the sustainable management of a tropical rain forest in Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Belize and many parts of the world in Africa as well, in India and this is one of the most important areas where there is knowledge and knowledge can inform policy and policy does not get distorted by corruption or pro-governance, or lack of institutional capacity or whatever if knowledge is available or good decisions are made on basis of that knowledge, then forestry is one of the most successfully proven ways of managing biodiversity in a sustainable way at the same time providing benefits, locally and also nationally some of the best examples I mentioned are in Latin America the best examples are in XXXXX there are also very good examples in western Africa and the trick here is to be able to, not only to have the information available and in ways that can be understood and managed by the decision makers, but also by the society as a whole and the locals. The locals are decision makers. and some of the most interesting cases I know of how by the western knowledge translated into policy making, they involve directly the communities that own the forest I will talk about this later in one of the talks about the examples so forestry in another very clear area where knowledge of the species, knowledge of the ecosystem, knowledge on the functioning, the interactions, the population sizes, the fluctuations the genetics required in order to do an intelligent management of that resource which is constituted by biodiversity

Video Details

Duration: 19 minutes and 38 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 23
Posted by: townpeterson on Jul 1, 2013

Jorge on policy

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