The opening address was given by Commissioner Stavros Dimas, who spoke of the urgent need for halting biodiversity loss on the basis of better information and public engagement through improved communication and outreach on these issues.
Vaclav Havel, the first Prime Minister of the Czech Republic spoke with feeling about the need to return to some form of stewardship of the planet based on values. He felt that with environmental issues being incorporated into every aspect of government, what was called for today was a Ministry of Decency.
Eloquent speeches were also made by Achim Steiner, the recently appointed Executive Director ot the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), previously head of the IUCN or World Conservation Union, which publishes a Red List of endangered species.
A video link up was made with Pascal Lamy at the World Trade Organisation, as he explained trade related initiatives aimed at slowing the impact on endangered species. In addition to the CITES legislation, he briefly touched on the dolphin free tuna controversy of the 1980s and 90's, and the turtle excluder devices which had been part of the environment related trade measures that sought to limit biodiversity loss.
Alain Hubert made a presentation on the unique role of the marine life in guaranteeing ecosystem resilience, focussing on the key issues for the Arctic ecosystem, such as precocious climate change, contamination of the food chain by long range pollutants, and increased human activity and the likely combined serious impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems.