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LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR CAREERS IN BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION - page 6 / 68

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careers in biodiversity conservation

V arious developments at international, national and local levels are changing the way people think about biodiversity conservation. These developments are similarly creating a climate for increased action to address the increasing scale of biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation that is seen currently. In this changing international, national and local context various careers and learning pathways are opening up that enable the development of competence towards the objectives of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

C.A.P.E. Cape Action Plan for the Environment

Concern for biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation has gained increased attention in the international and national arena over the past three decades. This is evident in the series of conventions and debates engaging various countries, governments and people in exploring legislative frameworks and practical strategies to address the increasing scale of biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation. Coupled to these developments is the reconceptualisation of biodiversity conservation, beyond traditional park boundaries and green issues, to integrate and link issues of human well-being centrally within biodiversity and ecosystems concerns. In 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed through which various governments committed themselves to developing legislation, policy and scientific initiatives that support the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources. Since 1992 various initiatives have sought to support the translation of this international convention into practical workable actions at a local level. The ecosystems approach, for example, developed at the fifth Council of Parties meeting in 1998, proposed twelve key principles as a framework for developing practical strategies that support and promote the conservation of and sustainable use of biological resources. A key feature of the ecosystems approach is the recognition of humans, and their cultural diversity, as an integral part of all ecosystems.

Further developments in the reconceptualisation of biodiversity conservation is evident in deliberations, prior to, during and after the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg in 2002, that focused on the alleviation of poverty through patterns of

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