OOS 26-10 - Positive Visions for Biodiversity: an innovative approach to mainstream biodiversity

Wednesday, August 10, 2011: 4:40 PM
16B, Austin Convention Center
Estelle V. Balian and Angélique Berhault, Belgian Biodiversity Platform, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium

On 16-17 November 2010, over 230 participants from 43 countries met in Brussels to create a Positive Vision for Biodiversity.  The Belgian Biodiversity Platform, one of the national platforms of the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS), organised this innovative meeting.  It brought together natural and social scientists and a wide diversity of stakeholders (including policy makers, politicians, businessmen, architects, civil society representatives, artists, and philosophers). The participatory approach used during the meeting was facilitated by Global Voices, a non-profit organization specialized in large-scale meetings.  Their method, the 21st Century Town Hall meeting,’ allowed participants to share ideas, develop a common “vision framework”, vote for priority goals and identify the main changes that they thought would be needed in the coming years.


Participants decided that by 2050, a sustainable relationship with biodiversity will have been established through:

  1. Governance that is more transparent and effective and that balances global and local responsibilities
  2. Sustainable and participatory management of land, seascapes and urban areas
  3. A sustainable human population 
  4. High technology that is used to build a low-tech world that enhances and protects biodiversity
  5. Sustainable renewable energy and transportation
  6. Sustainable food production, using minimum energy and resources
  7. Efficient use of resources through responsible production and consumption, recycling and eliminating waste
  8. The integration of biodiversity into every part of life
  9. Transforming the economic paradigm to reflect fully biodiversity and human values
  10. Values and behaviours appropriate to a more harmonious way of life.
For each theme, participants prioritized key goals. For example, , one of the goals for "governance" was: “Sustainability is the core business of governments / governance e.g. world trade and finance has been dramatically changed”.  Some significant changes necessary to reach these goals were also identified, for example: 
  • Protect 20% of each coastal and marine ecosystem from human activities and strengthen sustainable management legislation for the rest, to create corridors and support reproduction. 
  • Integrate biodiversity thinking including bio-compatible technology in all levels of education starting with elementary school and research 
  • Accounting system in place to reflect real environmental and social costs and benefits of energy production and use. 
The results of this two-day participative meeting were communicated to scientists and policy makers in a follow-up meeting (18 -19 November 2010) to identify research priorities related to the vision goals, and changes required in the way research is structured, carried out and funded, to support the goals of the vision.
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Banner photo by Flickr user greg westfall.