New York, 22 April 1999 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Government of the United Kingdom share a commitment to conservation of the environment and the sustainable use of environmental resources. There is, they believe, a need for an integrated Centre which can bring together and evaluate information on biodiversity and biological resources worldwide, and enhance capacities to handle such information at global, regional and national levels, with particular reference to the needs of developing countries and international conventions.
They recognize that the World conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), located at Cambridge in the United Kingdom and currently sponsored by UNEP, IUCN and the World Wide Fund for Nature, is already a wold centre of biodiversity information and ideally suited as the nucleus of the global facility identified as essential.
UNEP and IUCN, with the encouragement of the Government of the United Kingdom, therefore intend:
in consultation with Governments, conservation organizations and other partners throughout the world, to cooperate in reconstituting WCMC as a new UNEP world biodiversity information and assessment centre;
to manage this reconstituted Centre so that it meets the needs of a wide range of users in both the public and private sectors;
to maintain and enhance its reputation as a centre of excellence in providing information to assist in the global protection and sustainable management of biological diversity;
to retain an international professional staff of the highest calibre;
to redirect the programme of the Centre so as to expand and emphasize its role in advice, technical assistance and training such as will further the biodiversity data-gathering and information-handling capacities of developing countries; and to seek partner organizations in developing countries to enhance and promote its work;
to encourage the Centre to negotiate agreements with relevant international conventions, including the Biodiversity Convention, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Convention on Migratory Species, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the World Heritage Convention.
UNEP and IUCN, with the agreement of the Board of the present WCMC and the encouragement of the Government of the United Kingdom, aim to launch the new Centre towards the middle of the year 2000.
This note to the media was issued after a panel discussion held in New York on the margins of the Seventh Session of the UN's Commission on Sustainable Development.
For more information on the work of the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, please contact:
Dr. Mark Collins,
WCMC Chief Executive,
tel: 44-1223-277314, fax: 44-1223-277136,
In Nairobi, contact:
Tore J. Brevik,
on tel: (+254-2) 623292,
on tel: 623084, fax: 623692,
UNEP Information Note 1999/14