As many as two-thirds of the world’s 350,000 plant species are in danger of extinction in nature during the course of the 21st century. Human beings depend on plants for almost every aspect of life, and our expectations of using them to build more sustainable, healthier, and better lives in the future. Plant diversity is increasingly threatened worldwide as a result of habitat loss, unsustainable exploitation of plant resources, pollution, climate change, the spread of invasive species and pathogens and many other factors. Renewed and intense efforts are urgently needed worldwide by governments, intergovernmental bodies, and scientific, environmental, and conservation organizations and institutions, if the loss of plant diversity is to be successfully halted.
Acknowledging these facts, the more than 2000 plant scientists from 73 nations, meeting at the XVIII International Botanical Congress, in Melbourne, Australia, July 2011, adopted the following resolutions:
We applaud the adoption of an updated global strategy for plant conservation by the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity at its 10th meeting of its Conference of the Parties held in Nagoya, Japan, in October, 2010; and call for:
- governments and inter-governmental bodies to recognize the achievements of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) and the urgent priority of its 2020 targets, by incorporating and mainstreaming its objectives into all relevant plans, policies and programs, including economic development policies, and programs to achieve sustainable development and poverty alleviation, as well as into national biodiversity strategies and action plans;
- botanical, environmental and conservation organizations and institutions worldwide to redouble their efforts to achieve the objectives of the GSPC by 2020;.
- governments, inter-governmental agencies, donors and other bodies to provide new resources to support plant conservation actions and to help build capacity for the management and conservation of plant resources worldwide;
- botanical institutions worldwide to collaborate to achieve a comprehensive and authoritative “online flora of all known plants” by 2020;
- scientists worldwide to contribute toward assessing the conservation status of plant species worldwide, giving highest priority to the most threatened plants and habitats, considering the projected impacts of global climate change, and utilizing all available methods;
- acknowledgement of the principle and fundamental importance of sharing knowledge and other benefits derived from scientific research with the countries and institutions from which genetic resources have been obtained.
We recognise the progress made toward the goals for plant conservation expressed in the deliberations of the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010. We support the objectives and targets of the 2020 Strategic Plan of the CBD, the updated Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), and the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization to the CBD (Nagoya Protocol). We also welcome the provisions of the Nagoya Protocol to facilitate access to biological material and ensure fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources; and to provide legal certainty, clarity, and transparency and fair and non-arbitrary rules and procedures to facilitate access to genetic resources under mutually agreed terms. We therefore
- urge the signatories of the Convention on Biological Diversity to move quickly to develop and adopt the provisions of the Nagoya Protocol and pledge their support and assistance to help formulate these provisions; and
- suggest that other international and national bodies and instruments support the provisions of the Nagoya Protocol to facilitate access to genetic resources for scientific research and such non-commercial purposes, with the aim of promoting and encouraging research that contributes to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, particularly in developing countries, provided such procedures do not result in increased threats to species;
We recognise that plants provide our food, most of our energy and medicines, maintain the atmosphere we breathe, give essentials of life to all other organisms, and are a source of beauty and inspiration in our environments; and that human actions are resulting in the widespread extinction of species of plants and other organisms, rivalling the mass extinction events of the past. We therefore call on governments and policy makers to:
- recognize the importance of developing and maintaining scientific expertise, provide resources for the education and training of scientists, and maintain career opportunities, so that young people will enter scientific fields, especially in the biological sciences;
- ensure that knowledge of sustainable processes is fully developed, disseminated, and shared throughout the world;
- actively develop floras and detailed accounts of the plants of all regions, which provide the basic information used to protect plants, understand their functions, and utilize them sustainably;
- support collaborative programs between and among developed and developing countries;
- ensure that high priority be given to the maintenance of botanical museums, herbaria, libraries, archives, gardens, living plant collections, seed banks, and gene banks as the essential infrastructure for botanical sciences, in order to ensure the long-term survival and ongoing accessibility of these irreplaceable assets for present and future researchers; and
- provide for the wide dissemination of information throughout the world by facilitating universal access to the increasingly powerful tools of electronic information management and communication.
In view of the importance of plants to human life, we confirm our resolve to:
- increase our knowledge of the diversity and relationships of plants, the processes and requirements of their growth, their reproductive characteristics, their habitats, the degree to which they may be threatened in nature, and all other aspects of their biology, and to make that knowledge freely available to all;
- increase awareness in the general population of the urgent need to confront the challenges posed by habitat destruction, global climate change, and alien invasive species, all of which lead to the loss of biodiversity, through improved public outreach and communication and through increased engagement with mass media outlets;
- advocate to policymakers the relevance of plant sciences to decisions in the use of resources and to seek ways to foster sustainable practices for the preservation of all species, thereby to maintain the quality of life on earth; and
- cooperate within the biological community to secure the future for a broad and integrated field of plant sciences.
The XVIII International Botanical Congress, in Melbourne, Australia, resolves that the decisions of its Nomenclature Section with respect to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (now to be the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants), noting with interest that specified types of electronic publication are now effective for nomenclatural purposes, that descriptions of new taxa may now appear in English or Latin, that, for valid publication, new names of fungi must include citation of an identifier issued by a recognized repository that will register the name, and that the Code will henceforth provide for a single name for all fungi and for all fossils falling under its provisions, as well as the appointment of officers and members of the nomenclature committees, made by that section during its meetings on 18–22 July, be accepted.
It is resolved that the XIX International Botanical Congress be held in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China on July 23-29, 2017, under the auspices of the Botanical Society of China and the City of Shenzhen, with the endorsement of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, who have provided to the International Association of Botanical and Mycological Societies (IABMS) selection committee all the necessary evidence of their ability to hold the congress there.