UN Decries Biodiversity Decline Climate Change
Klaus Toepfer, outgoing chief of the UN Environmental Programme.
Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Nairobi (AFP) Mar 31, 2006
The outgoing chief of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) on
Thursday decried a steady decline in global biodiversity and
lamented that the problem of climate change had yet to be taken
Klaus Toepfer, who will step down as director of the Nairobi-based
UNEP in June, said that despite some improvements in the awareness
of worrying trends, there was still not enough being done to avert
"Right now, we have still a quite a clear downward trend with regard
to environmental stability," he told reporters at a farewell news
conference in the Kenyan capital.
"We have an increase of CO2 emissions and we have not at all
stabilised these emissions and we know that climate change is going
on," he said.
"Its not a prognosis for the future, it is now, and yet this is of
little concern," Toepfer said. "People are not concerned enough. Its
really a huge problem."
He did not mention any specific offenders but his comments appeared
to refer to positions taken by such leading world polluting
countries as the United States, India and China that have refused to
sign on to international pacts limiting emmissions of carbon dioxide
which are believed responsible for global warming.
Toepfer said the decline in biodiversity, partly due to climate
change, was hurting not only humans and their environment but also
efforts to reduce poverty in line with the UN-backed Millenium
"This is not only a problem with regards to the stability or with
respect to the diversity of human beings and nature," he said.
"Its a disaster for the economic targets because to decrease
biodiversity means to decrease the knowledge library of nature for
"We have such a lot of systems integrated in nature to solve
problems, which we didnt discover until now and yet we are losing
those solution possibilities and stability," he said.
Toepfer will hand over the UNEP reins to his successor Achim Steiner
in June after eight years in office.
Source: Agence France-Presse
UN Environmental Programme