Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), speaks during the opening ceremony of an international conference on biodiversity at Maasai Mara University, Kenya, Sept. 4, 2019. An international conference on biodiversity co-organized by the Alliance of International Science Organizations (ANSO), Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre (SAJOREC) and Maasai Mara University kicked off here on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Lyu Shuai)
NAROK, Kenya, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- An international conference on biodiversity opened in Kenya's Maasai Mara University on Wednesday with a renewed call for concerted efforts to protect rare species amid threats linked to climate change and a rapid population growth.
Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was joined by senior government officials and scientists during the opening ceremony of the biodiversity summit organized by Alliance of International Science Organizations and Sino-Africa Joint Research Center.
"By holding this conference, we wish to provide a platform for academic institutions in China, Africa and other parts of the world to share the experiences and showcase the best practices in conserving biodiversity," said Bai.
He said that harnessing science, technology and innovations is key to reverse degradation of biodiversity whose health is key to sustain food security, water supply and climate mitigation.
Kenya is hosting the international conference on biodiversity in drylands and wetlands where delegates will discuss innovative strategies to enhance conservation of nature's assets.
George Magoha, cabinet secretary in the ministry of education said the conference that is running from Sept. 4 to 6 was timely as Kenya and other African countries prioritize conservation of vital ecosystems to boost sustainable development.
"The conference will enable policymakers and scientists make a crucial link between biodiversity and human development," said Magoha in a speech read on his behalf by the chairman of Maasai Mara University Council, Samuel Ochola.
It will foster debate on how we accelerate socio-economic development in a way that respects and protects biodiversity," he added.
Mohamed Elmi, chief administrative secretary in Kenya's ministry of environment and forestry, said the East African Nation was honored to host the three-day conference whose outcomes will inform future interventions to conserve rare species.
"We look forward to practical knowledge and ideas that can be applied locally to tackle the challenges facing biodiversity and drylands,"said Elmi, adding that Kenya is keen to harness new technologies and innovations to enhance protection of biodiversity hotpots.
Godrick Bulitia, deputy vice chancellor in charge of academic and student affairs at Maasai Mara University, said the conference is expected to foster scientific debate on novel practices that should be adopted to reverse degradation of vital ecosystems.