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NGO Documents for the Earth Summit, 1992

Non-Governmental Organization Alternative Treaties
at the '92 Global Forum

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Treaty 37. Draft Protocol on Scientific Research Components for the Conservation of Biodiversity

1. We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations (NGOs), commit ourselves to our best abilities and knowledge to participate in the planning, coordination, implementation and monitoring of research activities which will fully address all issues of protecting and managing the planet's biodiversity. In order to preserve, manage and enhance local biodiversity we will pursue research policies that will focus basically on both the assessment of existing and potential threats to cultural and biological biodiversity, and on possible alternatives to counteract these impacts.

2. In order to address research components for the conservation of biodiversity, the following subjects deserve special attention:

a. Regional management plans and actions which adhere to the principle of proportionality and priority in allocating agricultural, residential, industrial, recreational and conservation areas. In practice, this will contribute to the occurrence, preservation and ecological status of rare and/or endangered species as well as to the actual and potential uses and threats these species are facing

b. Basic inventories of ecosystems with regard to their biophysical, socio-economic and cultural assets, and their relationship with neighboring and/or related ecosystems. In particular we emphasize the conservation of traditional practices in written forms such as alimentation, hunting, fishing, agriculture, husbandry, herbal medicine, birth control and spiritual and religious conceptions of nature and its conservation

c. Application of methodologies appropriate to local biological and socio-economic and cultural conditions

d. Dynamics of interactions and interlinkages of ecosystems, especially those which are sensitive to threatened species and unique habitats which are home to societies characterized by specific traditional concepts of the use and preservation of their natural resources

e. The need for an obligatory environmental impact assessment in any case of industrial and high-tech use of natural resources which may have substantial impact on ecosystems and their biodiversity and on human health such as mining, oil production, shipping, road construction, development of industrial and monoculture production areas, wetland reclamation, dams and ports

f. Identification of actors and processes which alter ecosystem and species, and making the results publicly available

g. Existing and potential impacts resulting from introduction of exogenous species

h. Study and quantification of the impact of militarism on biodiversity

i. Study and, if possible, assessment of the cultural and social values of biodiversity

j. Addressing environmental research needs of the various legal, institutional and political systems at national, regional and international levels, thus contributing to the overall goal of orienting the public to ongoing or planned activities which have potential impact on biodiversity

k. Where applicable, the propagation of traditional knowledge via technical assistance e.g. inter- and intracultural exchange of common knowledge of traditional management concepts. In particular, these studies will take into account the important role women play in understanding and managing natural resources

l. Enhanced studies of biological pest control

m. Habitat enhancement studies in order to increase living/reproduction/feeding grounds for endangered animal species

n. Rehabilitation of damaged ecosystems. Such action encompasses reforestation, erosion prevention, anti-desertification programs, groundwater and watershed treatment, restoration of abandoned fish/shrimp ponds and salines and artificial reefs

o. Study of the possible utilization of salt-tolerant plants as green fodder source in semi-arid regions.

3. We, the undersigned NGOs, will exchange scientific information obtained from our specific field and laboratory results with information from other disciplines; in particular, we will stimulate the exchange of information between biosciences and socio-economic and ethnic studies. To achieve this goal, we will establish appropriate media networks, data banks, national and regional seminars and public education programs.

4. We emphasize the creation of an international code of ethics for biodiversity studies which will underline the researcher's commitment to fully respect the intrinsic value of the living organism to be studied.

5. In studying, monitoring and researching biological diversity the undersigned NGOs will follow the principles of this treaty. Scientific research carried out in this context is meant to fully respect the ecological, social and cultural integrity of all components involved. In particular, research programs for biodiversity will address the following principles:

a. the social and cultural integrity of indigenous peoples, implying that research on the relation between cultural and biological diversity should only be done in full agreement and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned

b. the ecological integrity of ecosystems and their components

c. studies which require sampling of wild species will strictly adhere to the 'sustainability principle' and be avoided in sensitive ecosystems

d. the results of all biodiversity studies should be of lasting benefit to the communities living with and dependent on the resources studied

e. the need for instruments to transfer the knowledge obtained through international studies of biodiversity, provided by increased funding through international agencies and through technical assistance for development projects.

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