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 ecosystems." 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