International scientists to gather in Medellin to analyze biodiversity

Medellin, Colombia, Dec 19 (EFE).- Scientists from around the world will gather in Medellin from March 17-24, 2018, to analyze the state of the world’s biodiversity, organizers of the event announced Tuesday.

The conference will be the 6th Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which is being held for the first time in the Americas, the Medellin Convention & Visitors Bureau said in a communique.

About 500 strategic actors from countries belonging to IPBES will evaluate the state of the planet’s biodiversity and the available tools to protect and sustainably use natural resources.

Organizers of the event say that the meeting will be a big showcase for Medellin to highlight the diverse efforts being made by the city, the capital of Colombia’s northwestern Antioquia province, to conserve the environment and natural resources.

Among those efforts is the fact that Medellin is the first Colombian city to have a public biodiversity policy, according to which priority is given to protecting natural resources with an eye toward fostering the survival of life on the planet.

In addition, the city has significant protected natural spaces such as Arvi Park, Colombia’s only nature park that is certified to be sustainable, and the Alto de San Miguel, containing 16 percent of Colombia’s biodiversity.

Medellin also hosts 25 percent of the country’s birds, 19 percent of its mammals, 10 percent of its vascular plants (i.e. flowers, ferns and conifers) and 4 percent of its amphibians, according to reports released by the Humboldt Institute cited by the Bureau.

The city also has about 2,500 hectares (some 6,250 acres) of protected natural or restored forests in the supply basins for rural aqueducts that have been converted into biodiversity reserves.

Those spaces help the city to regulate local water resources and climate, capturing polluting particles from the air and dampening noise, as well as serving as zones for leisure activities, recreation, environmental education and research.

There are also habitats for wild flora and fauna and zones favoring the maintenance and recovery of the soil’s productive capacity, among other services.

Medellin‘s economic development chief, Maria Fernanda Galeano, said that “the city has various ecotourism activities to offer travelers, which impact in a positive way on (its) economic development.”

“In addition, those experiences are being adapted into a sustainable tourism model as a mechanism for protecting biodiversity and the environment,” she said.

At the meeting, Colombia will present the latest advances in the national evaluation of biodiversity, as well as the National Policy Action Plan for the Management of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

IPBES is the intergovernmental body which assesses the state of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services it provides to society, in response to requests from decision makers.