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For Immediate Release
October 10, 2014

Suffolk's Rosa Gambier One of 350 Worldwide Invited to UNESCO Conference

Rosa M. Gambier, Ph.D., Suffolk County Community College Biology Department Chair, was one of 350 international scientists, academics, educators and representatives  from 65 countries invited to take part in a three-day event,  Botanists of the Twenty-first Century: Roles, Challenges and Opportunities conference, organized at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Headquarters in Paris, France this past September.

The conference brought together participants from many regions of the world with a particular interest in the plant kingdom and sought to develop forward-looking perspectives for the botanical profession in the 21st century.

The group drafted and signed a UNESCO declaration to reinforce the commitment of the attendants and the institutions they represent to: sustainable use of plant species, emphasis on innovative botanical education, the commitment to and importance of plant conservation, the importance of herbaria to preserve biodiversity, conservation of indigenous people's botanical knowledge, understanding the urgent need to continue studying biodiversity especially under drastic environmental change and global warming, and the use of  free technology for dispersing fast and efficiently botanical information.

The conference attendees also recommended that UNESCO adopt 2017 as the International Year of Plants for Life and recommended that the theme of 2017 World Science Day should be "Botany and The Plant Sciences for Sustainable Development

Despite a decline in the practice of botany in recent decades, advances in technology have opened up new perspectives for the discipline’s development, including creating an international digital herbarium or computerized plant recognition technology and a renewed international commitment to plant conservation and understanding of indigenous peoples plant knowledge.