Educators Call for Worldwide Action on Plant-Based Education
Educators at the BGCI Congress are taking a coordinated approach
Compelling evidence of an emerging global consensus on the importance of plant-based education to plant diversity conservation, has appeared with the call from an international group of botanic garden educators for governments to step up and provide increased support for training, resources and information exchange.
Using the platform of Botanic Gardens Conservation International’s (BGCI) 6th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens, held jointly at Oxford University and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, delegates from Brazil, China, Indonesia, Russia, USA and UK presented the findings of six national meetings convened to examine the status of plant-based education in their respective countries.
Held earlier this year under the auspices of BGCI, the meetings looked at strategies to heighten public awareness about plant diversity and conservation under Target 14 (promoting education and awareness about plant diversity) of the UN’s Global Strategy on Plant Conservation (GSPC). Significantly, every meeting highlighted the lack of governmental support for such initiatives.
According to Suzanne Sharrock, BGCI’s Director of Public Awareness and Understanding, this is a significant development “because it shows that there is a growing convergence of opinion from a broad spectrum of countries with differing biodiversity challenges, that education is key to addressing conservation needs and support for this at government and international level is urgently required.”
The findings will be presented next month in Dublin at an Expert Group meeting on the GSPC organised by the UN-backed Convention on Biological Diversity. Membership of the group includes representatives of the signatory countries to the Convention and international organisations.
The Dublin meeting will review the implementation of the GSPC and also examine proposals for a ‘toolkit’ designed to assist the Parties integrate the GSPC targets into their own national strategies and programmes. Following this a report will then be submitted to the CBD.
BGCI’s role is key to the Dublin meeting. As the facilitating agency for two of the 16 targets of the GSPC it has a major reporting function. It also provides the Secretariat for the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation, a voluntary grouping of organisations dedicated to the implementation of the GSPC, for which it hosts the website, www.plants2010.org