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International Conference on Biodiversity and Bioresources - Conservation and Utilization

Phuket, Thailand, 23-27 November 1997

> Published in Pure Appl. Chem. 70(11), 2065-2145 (1998)


Biodiversity and bioresources is a new theme for an IUPAC conference, and it might seem an odd topic for a chemical organization. On reflection, though, the link between chemistry and biology was apparent from the work of Wöhler and Fischer in the last century and is today growing exponentially. A major facet of biodiversity is its associated molecular diversity: natural chemistry has always been a stimulus for man made chemistry. Few people cared for ß-lactams or enediynes, for instance, until they were isolated as bioresources.

With the attention being addressed to biodiversity and bioresources worldwide, two clouds have appeared on the horizon. One of these is sustainability. A look at the whaling industry and much of the world's fishing industry will demonstrate the result of unregulated or badly regulated exploitation. The other cloud is ownership. Surely nations and indigenous peoples have rights and responsibilities to their bioresources, just as they have to their mineral, agricultural and cultural resources. Exploitation by others of a nation's or a peoples' bioresources, including their unpatented, unprotected traditional knowledge must involve some reward. Such a reward should either be financial or, much more worthwhile, an intellectual boost to the local academic system.

Thoughts like these prompted the adoption of the Phuket Declaration at the IUPAC Bioresources and Biodiversity Conservation and Utilization Conference.

R. Bates

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