Tuesday, June 20, 2006

African leaders want biodiversity dividends

African leaders experssed the desire for economic benefits in exchange for preserving biodiversity during an international conference in Antananarivo, Madagascar on Tuesday.

"People who think that development and conservation cannot go hand-in-hand are wrong," Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana said during the opening address.

Regional nations are beginning to see the benefits of conserving their rich ecological wonders as a way of promoting tourism -- a sustainable industry. In the past, logging and similar activities have cleared entire forests that will not recover for long periods of time.

Nations can also sell carbon credits by preserving forests that consume carbon, under a system spawned by the Kyoto Protocol.

Madagascar's President Marc Ravalomanana waits to address the opening session of an international biodiversity on Africa in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Tuesday June 20, 2006. AP Photo/Jerome Delay
Madagascar's President Marc Ravalomanana waits to address the opening session of an international biodiversity on Africa in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Tuesday June 20, 2006. AP/Jerome Delay photo via Yahoo News.

Subsistence farming of native species is yet another way to conserve native forests that was explored during the symposium.

"In Africa and elsewhere, let us all put an end to the exploitation of natural resources for one-time payoffs, and instead develop strategies for using them sustainably, in ways that will benefit all people," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement before the conference.


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