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Ethics and Biodiversity

Final Report is available to download as:


Bosworth, Andrew; Chaipraditkul, Napat; MingMing Cheng; Gupta, Abhik; Junmookda, Kimberly; Kadam, Parag; Macer, Darryl R.J.; Millet, Charlotte; Sangaroonthong, Jennifer; Waller, Alexander. 2011. Ethics and biodiversity. Bangkok, Regional Unit for Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific (RUSHSAP), UNESCO Bangkok. v + 102 pp.

ISBN 978-92-9223-420-1 [PDF - 1.3Mb]

The following is a list of current working group participants:

Andrew Bosworth (chair): AndrewSBosworth[at] 
Alex Waller: arwaller1[at]  
Professor Abhik Gupta:[at]
Amarbayasgalan Dorjderem: a.dorjderem[at] 
Charlotte Millet: charlottem.millet[at]
Dr. Darryl Macer: d.macer[at]
Dr. Jayapaul Azariah: jazariah[at]
Jennifer Sangaroonthong: jts53[at]
Kimberly Junmookda: kimj02[at]
Lea Ivy O. Manzanero: leaivy.manzanero[at]
Ming Ming Cheng: cheng.mingming.china[at]
Napat Chaipraditkul: napat[at]
Dr. N N Murthy: vidyavachaspati[at]
Parag Kadam: paragplk[at]
Robert Aori Nyambati: nyambatiaori[at]

If you are interested in joining the working group, or participating in a meeting, please send an email to:  



The Convention on Biological Diversity emerged out of a universal consensus that biodiversity is of immense value to humankind. Although the report adopted the definition of the Convention on Biological Diversity definition of biodiversity, it reviews the concept of biodiversity as applied to genes, microbes, ecosystems and the planet as a whole. There are a number of accepted scientific measurements to allow recording of biodiversity, although all show that it is being reduced at rates that are unprecedented, due to anthropogenic activity.


A variety of ethical approaches to human relationships to biodiversity are described in the report, but despite the range of ideas that they include, most would argue that human beings should modify their behaviour to slow the rate of biodiversity loss. Even an anthropocentric argument would also show the high value of biodiversity for current and future human generations, as exceeding the short-term gains that are the cause of most biodiversity loss. There is an extensive description of many value systems and biodiversity. Traditional practices such as the use of sacred groves were based on holistic approaches to all of life. What lessons do such systems offer us today? There is a major case study of the Tonlé Sap ecosystem in Cambodia, to explore how regulations are developed, and evolve in practice with the local and external users of a biodiversity sanctuary. Some ethical lessons are drawn from this study which may be useful for policy options for not only that habitat, but also for others. 


A review of international law and biodiversity is presented with attention on some of the ethical aspects. There is discussion of ecotourism policy, and labeling laws, that may be used to protect biodiversity. There are a number of policy issues for future preservation of biodiversity that suggest governments (local and national) may like to reconsider what is sustainability, what economic policy and time frames they adopt, and the role of environmental movements in implementation of policy. Although there are some good laws on paper at the international level, and at national level in some nations, these are not always implemented effectively as both the local communities and consumers globally need to act to protect biodiversity. Examination of the common goals to protect and value biodiversity over history and in the future may make the difference that is needed.

 This page was last updated on 24 August 2012