Facts about cultural diversity and biodiversity
Half the world's 6,000 languages will die out in the next 75 to 100 years.
Harvard biologist Edward Wilson estimates that nearly 140 species become extinct very day.
The world's 250 million indigenous peoples live in about 70 countries and are marginalised wherever they are. In Bolivia, they comprise 66 per cent of the population; in Peru, 40 per cent; in China and India, 7 per cent; in USA, less than 0.5 per cent.
Estimates of the number of distinct indigenous cultures in the world vary from 5,000 to 20,000.
About 90 per cent of the world's food is provided by 20 major plants.
In Indonesia, 1,500 local varieties of rice have disappeared in the past 15 years.
The forest dwellers of Papua New Guinea have for years cultivated the protein-rich winged bean.
The Shuar Indians of Ecuador used quinine as a treatment for malaria.
Delicate modern surgery depends on an anaesthesia derived from the bark of South American vines called lianas.
The people of Madagascar originally identified the medicinal properties of rosy periwinkle, which forms the base of two powerful anti-cancer drugs, vincristine and vinblastine.
Indigenous peoples use at least 3,000 plants to control fertility, one of which -- a Mexican yam -- contributed to early research into the birth control pill.
On a field trip to Belize, American enthnobiologist Michael Balick found that 20 plants suggested to him by a Mayan traditional healer yielded five compounds that were worth investigating for anti-HIV properties.
(This information is taken from Panos media briefing No 1)