WRI Welcomes U.S. Support and Satellite Maps For new Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Sep 07, 2000, 01:00 ET from World Resources Institute

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The World Resources Institute (WRI)
 today welcomed the US government's support of the Millennium Ecosystem
 Assessment and its offer to donate a set of detailed satellite images of the
 world's forests.
     US President Bill Clinton announced his support this afternoon in a speech
 at the United Nations Security Council in New York.  The Millennium Ecosystem
 Assessment is a new four-year-old effort to improve the management of the
 earth's resources by providing decision-makers and the public with high
 quality scientific information on the state of the world's ecosystems and the
 consequences of change.
     "This is an excellent example of international scientific and political
 cooperation that is needed to promote sustainable development," said Jonathan
 Lash, WRI president.  "However, we ask that the US Government expand their
 donation to include the detailed satellite imagery of all of the earth's
     He added that it is only through the careful examination of our living
 planet that we can fully understand and value these resources and design the
 necessary measures for their protection and use.
     Results of a new international study indicate that the world's ecosystems
 are declining due to population pressure and increased consumption.  The
 report, World Resources 2000-2001: People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of
 Life, will be released on Sept. 15 during a meeting of environment ministers
 in Bergen, Norway.
     The report examines the world's coastal, forest, grassland, freshwater,
 and agricultural ecosystems.  It grades their status on the basis of their
 ability to produce the goods and services that the world currently relies on.
 These include production of food, provision of pure and sufficient water,
 storage of atmospheric carbon, maintenance of biodiversity and provision of
 recreation and tourism opportunities.
     The scorecards and the statistics in People and Ecosystems paint a dismal
 picture of over-fished oceans, over-pumping of water, soils degraded by
 inappropriate farming methods, and the destruction of coral reefs and forests.
 This report provided the impetus for the launch of the Millennium Ecosystem
 Assessment.  It is now a project of the United Nations, and leading
 international scientific organizations like the World Resources Institute.

SOURCE World Resources Institute