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MEDIA REPORTS

BIODIVERSITY AND WILDLIFE

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2006

 

Biodiversity and Wildlife Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

 

DECEMBER 2006

CHINA’S BAIJI DECLARED EXTINCT
The Yangtze river dolphin, or baiji, was declared functionally extinct following a fruitless search by an international team of scientists. Development, overfishing and shipping along the Yangtze, China’s longest river, are cited as the causes for its extinction. Chinese scientists will continue the search, as some of the mammals might remain in the wild.

Link to further information
Reuters News Service, 18 December 2006

FAO CALLS FOR GLOBAL ALLIANCE ON MOUNTAINS
On the occasion of the International Mountain Day 2006 on 11 December, the FAO called for a global alliance to safeguard the world’s mountains as a vital source of both agricultural and wild biodiversity. With its theme “Managing Mountain Biodiversity for Better Lives,” International Mountain Day 2006 aims to focus attention on the crucial role played by mountains in ensuring biodiversity and to promote action for the sustainable management of mountain areas. As noted by José Antonio Prado, Director of FAO’s Forest Resources Division, “safeguarding and managing mountain biodiversity requires a global alliance of international organizations, national governments, civil society, the private sector and, most importantly, mountain populations as stewards and beneficiaries of biodiversity in mountains.”

Links to further information
FAO press release, 11 December 2006 
International Mountain Day

EU WILL NOT APPEAL WTO BIOTECH RULING
The European Commission has decided not to appeal the World Trade Organization (WTO) panel ruling on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which concluded that the EU moratorium on GMO approvals, its failure to approve a number of biotech products, as well as the national-level bans in several EU Member States, violate WTO rules. According to reports, the decision was criticized by several civil society groups, who expressed concern that some of the panel’s conclusions could undermine other bodies of international law.

Links to further information
ICTSD Bridges Trade BioRes, 1 December 2006
Reuters News Service, 22 November 2006
Additional resources on the WTO case

SEVEN NEW PROTECTED AREAS CREATED IN BRAZILIAN AMAZON
The governor of the Brazilian state of Pará announced on 4 December 2006 the establishment of seven new protected areas in Amazonia covering over 14 million hectares. Two of the seven new areas are designated as strictly protected areas, one of which is the world’s largest strictly protected area ever created in a tropical forest, and the remaining five allow for sustainable use and limited production. The region now boasts a mosaic of connected protected areas, which create a biodiversity conservation corridor that allows species to roam vast landscapes.

Link to further information
Conservation International News Release, 4 December 2006

FIVE AFRICAN NATIONS TO ESTABLISH WORLD’S LARGEST TRANSFRONTIER CONSERVATION AREA
Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Angola met on 7 December 2006 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work towards establishing the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA). Once established, it will be Africa's biggest cross border conservation project, measuring 30,000 square kilometers and including the Okavango and Zambezi river basin, with a total of 36 national parks, game reserves, community wildlife areas and wildlife management areas such as Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta, Chobe Game Reserve and Caprivi Strip. The TFCA will become the 14th cross border conservation area in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Botswana’s Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, highlighted the TFCA’s potential to boost tourism, regional integration and development among the five country partners. The preparatory process leading to the MoU involved a pre-feasibility study that was undertaken from October 2005 to August 2006, facilitated by Peace Parks Foundation and co-funded by WWF-Netherlands & the Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation (UK). The study sets outs specific targets for the process involved in formally establishing the TFCA through the signing of a treaty between the partner countries before 2010.

Link to further information
AllAfrica News Story, 12 December 2006

NOVEMBER 2006

ANNAN WARNS OF BIOTECH DANGERS
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned of the potential dangers from the rapidly growing biotechnology industry and urged creating global safeguards. In a speech in St. Gallen, a Swiss university town, Annan warned of “catastrophic” results if recent advances in biotechnology, including gene manipulation and work with viruses, fell into the wrong hands.

Link to further information
Reuters News Service, 16 November 2006

WINGS OVER WETLANDS PROJECT LAUNCHED
The recently launched Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project aims to improve the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory waterbirds through implementing measures to conserve the critical network of sites that these birds require to complete their annual cycle. It is the largest international wetland and waterbird conservation initiative ever to take place in the African-Eurasian region. The WOW project, which was launched on 20 November 2006, is sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through UNEP, the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the Secretariat of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (UNEP/AEWA Secretariat), and several other donors. The project will help foster international collaboration along the flyways, build capacity for monitoring and conservation, and demonstrate best practice in the conservation and wise use of wetlands in 12 selected countries.

Links to further information
WOW project website
Wetlands International press release, 20 November 2006

NEW SPECIES DISCOVERED AROUND THE WORLD, AFRICA’S WILDLIFE IN DANGER
Discoveries of several new species have recently been announced: at least eight new species of orchid have been discovered in tropical rainforests of Papua New Guinea, glowing mushrooms were found in Brazil, while as many as 100 aquatic species were discovered in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

At the same time, reports point to the threats for Africa’s wildlife: militia have slaughtered hundreds of hippos in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while years of economic chaos have decimated wildlife at Zimbabwe’s nature reserves.

Links for further information
New orchids found in Papua New Guinea Rainforest, Environment News Service, 16 October 2006
Photo gallery: new glowing mushrooms found in Brazil, National Geographic, 2 November 2006
New aquatic species found in Hawaii, Reuters News Service, 2 November 2006
Last stand of the hippo as rebel militia slaughter hundreds a week, The Times, 19 October 2006
Hard times for wildlife in Zimbabwe, Associated Press, 19 October 2006
 

STUDY QUESTIONS PROTECTED AREA APPROACH TO CONSERVATION
A new study published by a team from Imperial College London questions conservation efforts based on “biodiversity hotspots.” Researchers gathered information on all known species on the IUCN Red List of endangered species and combined it with observation of all these species in the wild. The information was then presented as global maps of extinction risk for bird, amphibian and mammal species. Their conclusion shows that many endangered species are endemic outside the traditional biodiversity hotspots and in continued danger of extinction. 

Links for further information
Study: Protected areas leave many species in peril on the outside, The Guardian, 2 November 2006
Mistaken Theory Harms Conservation Efforts - UK Study, Reuters News Service, 2 November 2006
C. David L. Orme et al, “Global hotspots of species richness are not congruent with endemism or threat,” Nature 436, 1016-1019 (18 August 2005)

IPGRI RENAMED BIOVERSITY INTERNATIONAL
The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), one of the 15 centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, will be known as “Bioversity International” or “Bioversity” from 1 December 2006. The new name reflects IPGRI’s new strategy entitled “Diversity for well-being: making the most of agricultural biodiversity,” developed in 2004.

Link for further information
Special message from IPGRI’s Director General Emile Frison

OCTOBER 2006

WORLD’S AGRICULTURAL GENE BANK COLLECTIONS TO COME UNDER THE FAO INTERNATIONAL TREATY
On the occasion of World Food Day, celebrated on 16 October, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the international agricultural research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) signed agreements to place the centers’ gene bank collections under the auspices of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. This would ensure that plant breeders, farmers and researchers will be able to access about 600,000 samples of plant genetic resources under standard conditions and share in the benefits arising from their use.  

Link for further information
FAO press release, 16 October 2006

SEPTEMBER 2006

 

INDONESIAN REEFS REVEAL 52 NEW SPECIES

More than 50 new marine species, including sharks, shrimp and reef-building corals, were recently discovered by Conservation International scientists in a marine region off Indonesia’s Papua province called Bird’s Head seascape. During their surveys, scientists saw 20 new coral species, 24 new fish species and eight new species of mantis shrimp, as well as a small nocturnal shark that walks across the sea floor on its fins. While the findings confirm Bird’s Head as possibly the planet’s richest seascape, only 11% of it is currently protected. Researchers highlight the need for the area’s protection from overfishing, including the use of cyanide and dynamite, as well as from deforestation and mining that degrade coastal waters.

 

Links to further information

Conservation International press release, 18 September 2006

Environment News Service, 18 September 2006

 

INDIA, CHINA MUST COOPERATE TO SAVE TIGERS—REPORT

On the eve of the 54th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, a report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Wildlife Protection Society of India argues that the trade in tiger and leopard skins in China and Tibet continues to thrive, driving India’s wild tigers closer to extinction. The issue is expected to attract major attention at the CITES Standing Committee meeting.

 

Links to further information

EIA press release, 27 September 2006

Reuters News Service, 28 September 2006

Environment News Service, 27 September 2006

 

INCORPORATE 2010 BIODIVERSITY TARGET INTO MDGS—ANNAN

In his 2006 Report on the Work of the Organization, Kofi Annan has asked the UN General Assembly to incorporate the 2010 biodiversity target into the framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs.) In the report (para 24), he states that, “World leaders agreed to several other important targets at the 2005 World Summit.  I am therefore recommending the incorporation of these commitments into the set of targets used to follow-up on the Millennium Declaration. This includes: [...] a new target under Millennium Development Goal 7: to “Significantly reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010”.

 

Link to further information

UN Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization 2006 (A/61/1)

 

AUGUST 2006

 

CALIFORNIA CONDORS THREATENED BY LEAD AMMUNITION

Recently published research suggests that hunting ammunition is the cause of lead poisoning of the California condors. Fragments of ammunition that contain lead are found in the remains of animals such as deer, elk, and feral pigs. These fragments that are not retrieved by hunters are the source of lead that the condors feed in. The results of the study may encourage regulations that force hunters to change the ammunition they use.

 

Links to further information

Science News Press Release

The Research

 

UNAUTHORIZED GM RICE TRIGGERS TRADE MEASURES, LAWSUITS
The discovery of trace amounts of an unapproved rice variety in the U.S. has resulted in trade measures and lawsuits. On 18 August, the US Agriculture Department (USDA) announced that trace amounts of an unapproved genetically modified rice variety developed by Bayer CropScience were found in samples taken from commercial long grain rice in Arkansas and Missouri. USDA said there was no health or environmental risk.

Following the announcement, Japan, the largest importer of US rice, suspended imports of US long grain rice, while the EU adopted a decision requiring such imports to be certified as free from the unauthorized GMO. Furthermore, US rice farmers from several States filed a lawsuit against Bayer CropScience, alleging that the company failed to prevent its unapproved GM rice from entering the food chain, which resulted in a dramatic drop in exports and rice prices.

Links to further information
Statement by US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns regarding genetically engineered rice, 18 August 2006
Commission requires certification of US rice exports to stop unauthorised GMO entering the EU, European Commission press release, 23 August 2006
US oversight of biotech crops seen lacking, Reuters News Service, 29 August 2006
US rice farmers sue Bayer Cropscience over GM rice, Reuters News Service, 29 August 2006
Bayer faces more lawsuits over GMO rice, Reuters News Service, 30 August 2006

BRAZIL PUBLISHES NATIVE PLANT NAMES TO PREVENT TRADEMARK MISUSE

The Brazilian government has published a list of more than 5000 generic plant names in a move to prevent further trademark disputes with companies that, for example, take a name of a Brazilian fruit in Portuguese and trademark it to get exclusive rights to commercialize it under that name in a certain country or region. Brazil has distributed the list to trademark offices around the world, hoping it will be used as a basis for consultation with parties involved. The focus of the list is solely on generic names from the Portuguese language used in Brazil that are associated with Brazilian biodiversity, not all Portuguese generic terms.

 

Link to further information
Intellectual Property Watch report, 4 August 2006

 

JULY 2006

 

SCIENTISTS CALL FOR ADVISORY PANEL ON BIODIVERSITY

Leading biodiversity experts have warned of a “catastrophic loss of species” and called for the establishment of a UN-led advisory panel on biodiversity, similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The statement by 19 experts, published in Nature journal, was produced as part of the consultative process towards an international mechanism for scientific expertise on biodiversity (IMOSEB), an initiative emerging from the January 2005 Paris Conference on Biodiversity. According to the statement, “Virtually all aspects of biodiversity are in steep decline and a large number of populations and species are likely to become extinct in the present century. Despite this evidence, biodiversity is still consistently undervalued and given inadequate weight in both private and public decisions. There is an urgent need to bridge the gap between science and policy to take action.” Existing organizations such as the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) “do not have the structural means to mobilize the expertise of a large scientific community that spans a wide range of disciplines.” Signatories include Robert Watson, Chief Scientist at the World Bank, who has chaired several global scientific collaborations including the IPCC, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Ozone Assessment Panel, as well as two former Chairs of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, Alfred Oteng-Yeboah of Ghana and Peter Schei of Norway. 

 

Links to further information
IMOSEB press release and declaration text, July 2006

Scientists want global body to conserve biodiversity, Reuters News Service, 20 July 2006

Environment News Service report, 19 July 2006

 

HUMANE SOCIETY SUES JAPANESE WHALERS

The Federal Court of Australia has granted Humane Society International permission to proceed with a lawsuit against the Japanese company that hunts whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary adjacent to Antarctica. The conservation group will now seek an injunction from the court to stop the whale hunt, which is carried out by the Japanese company Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd. as part of Japan’s scientific research programme. According to Humane Society International’s estimates, Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd has killed more than 850 minke whales within the Australian Whale Sanctuary since it was established in July 2000. This year the company added fin whales to their annual hunt and from next year they plan to start killing humpback whales. 

 

Link to further information
Environmental News Service report (17 July 2006)

 

JUNE 2006

 

U.S TAKEN TO COURT OVER ALLEGED IMPORTS OF ILLEGALLY-LOGGED MAHOGANY

In a lawsuit filed on 6 June 2006 with the US Court of International Trade, the Natural Resources Defense Council and two Peruvian indigenous groups – the Native Federation of Madre de Dios and Racimos de Ungurahui – allege that the US government and private companies have been importing mahogany timber for use in luxury furniture without the proper documentation of legality required by the US Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which has included mahogany on its Appendix II since 2003.

 

Link to further information

ICTSD Trade BioRes, 16 June 2006

 

NEW PROTECTED AREAS DECREED IN AMAZON; U.S DECLARES WORLD’S LARGEST MARINE PROTECTED AREA
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has decreed three new protected areas in the Amazon Basin covering 1.84 million hectares of rainforest. The areas include the Campos Amazonicos National Park in the Amazonas and Rondonia states, and the Rio Unini and Arapixi reserves in the Amazonas. Environmental groups, however, have pointed to the limited degree of infrastructure and the inadequate number of rangers to guard the parks.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest marine protected area has been established in the US following a decision to designate the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and surrounding waters and reefs as a national monument. The area is considered to protect about 7000 species of marine life, one quarter of which occurs nowhere else in the world.

Links to further information

Brazil creates three new protected areas in Amazon rainforest, 22 June 2006

President sets aside largest marine conservation area on Earth, NOAA news release, 15 June 2006

The United States of America designates the world’s largest marine protected area, 19 June 2006

 

MAY 2006

 

EU ADOPTS NEW CAVIAR LABELING RULES

The European Commission has announced new rules regarding the trade and sale of caviar, applying to all caviar made from sturgeons, wild-sourced or farmed. In implementing the universal labeling requirements agreed upon by the Conference of the Parties to CITES, the new rules will require that the labeling of all caviar containers in the EU, the largest importer of caviar worldwide, contain specific information to allow retailers and consumers to identify the legal source of the product. Welcoming the introduction of the new regulation, Stephanie Theile, Acting Director of TRAFFIC’s Europe programme, said it will be an important tool to combat the illegal trade in caviar, which has led to overexploitation and significant population declines of sturgeon species in most waters in Eurasia.

 

Links to further information

New rules to combat illegal caviar trade, Europa Press, 15 May 2006

EU adopts new labeling rules to fight caviar smuggling, TRAFFIC news release, 15 May 2006

 

IUCN BEGINS FIELD-TESTING REVISED ITTO GUIDELINES FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN TROPICAL PRODUCTION FORESTS

IUCN-The World Conservation Union has started the process of field-testing the revised International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) guidelines for the conservation of biological diversity in tropical timber production forests in Brazil, Cameroon, Indonesia and Guyana. Mandated by the member governments of the ITTO, IUCN will update and revise the previous version of the ITTO guidelines, and will help optimize the contribution of tropical production forests to global biodiversity conservation.

 

Link to further information

IUCN press release (2 May 2006)

 

2006 IUCN RED LIST RELEASED – MORE SPECIES THREATENED WITH EXTINCTION

The polar bear and hippopotamus are officially threatened with extinction, according to the 2006 Red List published by IUCN-the World Conservation Union. Other species also facing extinction include several desert gazelle species, the angel shark and common skate, and Mediterranean plants, while freshwater fish have suffered some of the most dramatic declines, with 56% of the 252 endemic freshwater Mediterranean fish threatened with extinction. Thanks to conservation action, the status of certain species, including the white-tailed eagle and Indian vultures, has improved.

 

“The 2006 IUCN Red List shows a clear trend: biodiversity loss is increasing, not slowing down,” said Achim Steiner, IUCN Director General. “The implications of this trend for the productivity and resilience of ecosystems and the lives and livelihoods of billions of people who depend on them are far-reaching. Reversing this trend is possible, as numerous conservation success stories have proven. To succeed on a global scale, we need new alliances across all sectors of society. Biodiversity cannot be saved by environmentalists alone – it must become the responsibility of everyone with the power and resources to act.”

 

Links to further information

IUCN press release, 2 May 2006

2006 IUCN Red List website

 

APRIL 2006

 

GLOBAL WARMING, NITROGEN EMISSIONS THREATEN BIODIVERSITY - STUDIES

A study recently published in Conservation Biology supports suggestions that global warming is one of the most serious threats to the planet’s biodiversity. “The study provides even stronger scientific evidence that global warming will result in catastrophic species loss across the planet,” said Jay Malcolm, lead author of the study, which looked at 25 biodiversity hotspots and projected that in average, 11.6 % of all species could be driven to extinction if emission levels keep rising in the next 100 years.

 

Another study, published in Global Change Biology, found that rising nitrogen emissions from developing countries will soon threaten many biodiversity-rich parts of the planet. According to the study, Brazil’s Atlantic forest, the temperate forests of South-West China, many parts of South-East Asia, Sri Lanka and the Western Ghats mountain range in southern India are some of the hotspots facing the greatest increase in nitrogen deposition.

 

Links to further information

Global warming threatens extinctions, Environment News Service, 11 April 2006

Jay Malcolm et al, “Global Warming and Extinctions of Endemic Species from Biodiversity Hotspots” Conservation Biology vol. 20 issue 2, April 2006, p. 538, abstract

Nitrogen emissions threaten biodiversity hotspots, SciDev.Net, 10 April 2006

Gareth Phoenix et al, “Atmospheric nitrogen deposition in world biodiversity hotspots: the need for a greater global perspective in assessing N deposition impacts” Global Change Biology vol. 12, March 2006, p. 470, abstract

 

CITES FINALIZES 2006 CAVIAR QUOTAS – ONLY IRAN CAN EXPORT

Only Iran will be allowed to export caviar from wild Caspian Sea sturgeon in 2006, the CITES Secretariat has concluded. The other Caspian Sea countries – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation and Turkmenistan – have failed to submit the required information on the long-term survival of the fish that would allow the CITES Secretariat to publish export quotas. Iran will be able to export this year up to 44,370 kilograms of caviar.

 

Links to further information

CITES finalizes 2006 caviar export quotas, CITES press release, 13 April 2006

Hold the caviar: UN-backed body bans export of most endangered sturgeon, UN news release, 17 April 2006

 

UNDP LINKS BIODIVERSITY AND MDGS AT CBD COP-8

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) have been focusing its environmental activities on ensuring that biodiversity considerations are integrated in processes designed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to a recent briefing. At the same time, it has also been supporting the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), multilateral and bilateral organizations, NGOs, other civil society organizations and the private sector in incorporating the MDGs in their efforts.

 

During the eighth meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties, held in Curitiba, Brazil, from 20-31 March 2006, UNDP hosted a side event on “Incorporating Biodiversity into National MDG Strategies: Lessons from Experience,” to share countries’ lessons and insights on how to integrate biodiversity targets and commitments into national development plans and strategies, with a view to inform national MDG-based national development strategies to be developed in response to commitments made at the 2005 UN World Summit. UNDP also highlighted, during the 20th Session of the Global Biodiversity Forum (24-25 March, Curitiba, Brazil), the importance of reducing the rate of biodiversity loss to achieve not only MDG-7 – ensuring environmental sustainability – but also all other MDGs, thus emphasizing the opportunity to integrate the 2010 biodiversity target into the MDGs at the next session of the General Assembly.

 

Links to further information

UNDP - Energy & Environment

UNDP - Energy & Environment

 

MARCH 2006

 

MANY PROJECTS, INITIATIVES AND PUBLICATIONS LAUNCHED AT CBD COP-8

A large number of projects, initiatives and publications were launched at CBD COP-8 in late March2006. These covered a wide range of issues and actors, including research center collaboration, an island partnership, World Heritage Sites, financing issues, and tourism and biodiversity. Some of the major announcements are outlined below.

 

Cooperation with Research Centers to Boost Technical and Policy Skills for Biodiversity Conservation

A memorandum of understanding signed between the Convention on Biological Diversity and some of the world’s leading research centers has been launched that aims to assist developing countries’ scientific, technical and policy skills in the areas of biodiversity and biosafety, through innovative education and training initiatives. The research centers include the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; the National Museum of Natural History of France; the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development of Saudi Arabia; the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew; the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. Other members of the alliance are: UNEP, UNDP, UNCTAD, the Ramsar Convention, Convention on Migratory Species, WWF, IPGRI and IUCN. 

CBD press release, 27 March 2006

Global Island Partnership Launched
Aimed at enhancing marine and terrestrial protected areas, the Global Island Partnership was launched in Curitiba by Palau, Indonesia, Federated States of Micronesia, Grenada and Kiribati. About 30% of the marine areas and 20% of the forests of the countries across Micronesia will be committed to conservation, and similar commitments were made by Grenada and Indonesia. The minister of Kiribati announced the establishment of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, as a national park, which will be the world’s third largest marine reserve. CBD press release, 29 March 2006. 

Initiative to Conserve the Heart of Borneo
The three governments sharing the island of Borneo, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia, pledged their support for a conservation initiative aimed at protecting the biodiverse Heart of Borneo, an area sheltering up to six percent of the world’s total biodiversity and is the source of 14 of the island’s 20 major rivers. WWF noted the announcement put an end to plans to create the world’s largest palm oil plantation along Indonesia’s mountainous border with Malaysia, while the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation said the agreement represents a huge step forward for orangutans. Environment News Service, 30 March 2006.

Tree Planting Initiative to Offset Impacts of Biodiversity Meetings
Following an agreement signed between the CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf and the Governor of the State of the State of Paraná Roberto Requião, 2,000 indigenous trees will be planted to offset the environmental impacts of the participation of the 4,000 delegates attending the three weeks of meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. As a result, eight million trees will be planted in the State of Paraná by the end of the year. CBD press release, 5 April 2006.

Conservation of Biodiversity-Rich Sacred Natural Sites
UNEP, in collaboration with IUCN and the Indigenous Initiative for Peace, led by the Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation, have launched an international initiative on the conservation of biodiversity-rich sacred natural sites, aiming to conserve ancient sacred sites as an integral part of protected area networks, with a view to contributing to their expansion, preservation of cultural diversity, and effective conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The project has received preliminary funding from the Global Environment Facility. Further information.

Wildlife Watching and Tourism – A Study on the Benefits and Risks of a Fast Growing Tourism Activity and its Impacts on Species
(UNEP/CMS, March 2006) Published in collaboration with the tourism group TUI, this report, which was released at CBD COP-8, underlines the role of wildlife tourism for reaching development goals, providing vital income into local communities and conservation initiatives. It focuses on 12 case studies to highlight the growing economic importance of wildlife watching, while highlighting some of the pitfalls that may arise through poor or insensitive management. The report provides recommendations on how best to promote environmentally, economically and socially sound wildlife watching, including advice to visitors, drivers and divers. UNEP press release, 24 March 2006. The report.

Financial Tool to Manage Marine Protected Areas
WWF has developed a new financial model in the Mesoamerican Reef that will help improve the long-term management of important coastal and marine protected areas globally. The new tool helps generate detailed information on the management, coordination and administrative costs of each individual protected area, as well as an entire network of coastal and marine protected areas. It collects and analyzes information on expenditures, income, projections and economic requirements for a period of ten years. It also proposes various scenarios on present and future financial prospects, which will help identify and anticipate potential funding gaps and build a business plan. Further information.

Species and People: Linked Futures
(WWF, March 2006) This report focuses on the contribution of wildlife conservation to rural livelihoods and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. By examining six projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia, the report shows that WWF’s work to save endangered wildlife helps eradicate poverty and hunger, as well as promote sustainable and fair development in rural areas. WWF press release.
The report.

WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY CELEBRATED

Launched by the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement and the Convention on Migratory Species, the first World Migratory Bird Day was celebrated on 8-9 April 2006. In support of the initiative, national authorities and NGOs from across the globe were encouraged to organize public events. The launching event, named “WINGS,” was a cultural event reflecting the symbolic value of birds and their historic significance to humans, and was held in Laikipia Nature Conservancy, Great Rift Valley, Kenya.

 

Link to further information

The World Migratory Bird Day website
 

YEAR OF THE TURTLE CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED

An international campaign to conserve sea turtles has been launched in Bangkok, Thailand. The campaign, which was launched on 1 March 2006, has been organized by the Secretariat of the Indian Ocean – South-East Asia (IOSEA) Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding, signed under the auspices of the Convention of Migratory Species. It is being undertaken in collaboration with Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. The Year of the Turtle involves a series of public events and activities in 25 countries of the region throughout 2006 under the banner “Cooperating to Conserve Marine Turtles: Our Ocean’s Ambassadors”.    
 

Links to further information

IOSEA press release, 1 March 2006

UNEP press release, 1 March 2006

 

FEBRUARY 2006

 

CMS WARNS AGAINST HOLDING MIGRATORY BIRDS RESPONSIBLE FOR AVIAN FLU SPREAD, UNDERTAKES INITIATIVE FOR GORILLA CONSERVATION

UNEP, the Convention on Migratory Species and the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement are launching a campaign to reverse the public perception, often supported by inaccurate media coverage, that migratory birds are responsible for the spread of avian influenza, and promote awareness on the importance of bird migrations for ecosystem functioning. The World Migratory Bird Day will be celebrated on 8 April, to include also information on avian influenza and its impacts on birds. An expert meeting will also be held, from 10-11 April 2006, at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, to investigate the root causes of the spread and identify effective solutions for its containment.

 

In other CMS-related news, the Convention is initiating work to develop an international agreement on gorillas. This agreement, to be signed by the relevant African Range States, will envisage a number of joint activities, programmes and projects to be undertaken by the Convention and the Range States to conserve existing populations of the species. On 7 February, the Convention signed a contract to work in close collaboration with the Royal Institute of Sciences of Belgium to draft the agreement and prepare proposals for conservation, capacity building and confidence-raising measures to facilitate the protection of gorillas and their ecosystems, and dependent human populations. Negotiating sessions will be organized in the months to come, while it is expected that the agreement will be ready for signature by the end of 2008. Other initiative partners include UNEP’s Great Apes Survival Project and UNESCO.     
 

Links to further information

Migratory birds: from messengers of life to ambassadors of death?, CMS press release, 22 February 2006

Avian influenza and the United Nations Environment Programme: investigating the root causes of the spreading of the disease and effective solutions for its containment, CMS press release, 22 February 2006

Saving King Kong, CMS press release, 7 February 2006

 

CITES AND EARTH COUNCIL E-LEARNING ESTABLISH NEW PARTNERSHIP

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between Earth Council e-Learning and the CITES Secretariat to develop online courses on the regulation of wildlife trade for CITES Management Authorities and stakeholders. The courses are scheduled to begin in the first half of 2006. In an effort to ensure full participation of those Parties lacking access to new information technologies, the courses will also be made available through CD-Rom and other media.    
 

Link to further information

CITES press release, 20 February 2006

 

DEBATE ON GENETIC USE RESTRICTION TECHNOLOGIES HEATS UP

A battle on genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs) is expected to take place during CBD COP-8, to be held from 20-31 March 2006, in Curitiba, Brazil. GURTs are a form of genetic modification that allows controlling gene expression and could make harvested seeds sterile. According to reports, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the biotechnology industry will intensify efforts to re-examine the CBD position on the issue. During COP-5 in 2005, Parties took a strong stance against GURTs and recommended that products incorporating such technologies should not be approved for field testing and commercialization until their impacts are assessed. A group of African NGOs appealed to the UK to oppose any move to erode the 2000 CBD decision, arguing that enforced seed sterility would affect farming and rural livelihoods dramatically across Africa. The Ban Terminator Campaign, an NGO alliance, claim that Monsanto recently revised its public commitment made in 1999 not to commercialize sterile seed technologies, and is currently pledging only to keep GURTs out of food crops. Monsanto denied having changed its policy on the issue.    
 

Links to further information

African NGOs tell ministers to say no to terminator technology, Friends of the Earth press release, 17 February 2006

Monsanto may commercialize Terminator, Ban Terminator Campaign news release, 21 February 2006

Terminator technology still does not even exist, Monsanto news release, 21 February 2006

Monsanto apologizes and returns to original �pledge� not to commercialize Terminator, Ban Terminator Campaign news release, 2 March 2006

 

BRAZIL TO CREATE NEW NATIONAL PARKS

Brazilian President Luiz In�cio Lula da Silva has signed decrees expanding the Amazon National Park and creating seven new environmental protected areas in the western part of Par� state, a region marked by land disputes and environmental devastation. The protected areas are intended to ensure that the planned paving of a new highway does not result in uncontrolled increase of logging on lands bordering the road, as has historically occurred throughout Amazonia.

 

CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf praised the decision as a �major contribution to the achievement of the commitment taken by 110 Heads of State in Johannesburg at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development to reduce, by 2010, the rate of loss of biological diversity for the protection life on Earth.�    
 

Links to further information

CBD Press Release, 17 February 2006

Brazil Expands Amazon National Park, Creates Forest Reserves, Environment News Service, 15 February 2006

 

JANUARY 2006

 

CITES TO PROHIBIT TRADE IN CAVIAR

Export quotas for caviar and other sturgeon products will not be approved until exporting countries provide more information on their sturgeon catch, the CITES Secretariat announced on 2 January 2006. The information provided by the exporting countries indicates that many of the species suffer serious population declines. �Countries wishing to export sturgeon products from shared stocks must demonstrate that their proposed catch and export quotas reflect current population trends and are sustainable,� said CITES Secretary General Willem Wijnstekers. �To do this they must also make full allowance for the amount of fish caught illegally.�

 

The CITES Secretariat is hopeful that the exporting countries will supply the missing data that may allow international trade to resume. Under CITES, all sturgeon species are listed on Appendix II.    
 

Links to further information

Caviar exporters urged to strengthen controls and promote sustainable fishing, UNEP press release, 3 January 2006

International caviar trade banned, BBC News, 3 January 2006

UN moves to block 2006 Caspian Sea caviar exports, Reuters News Service, 4 January 2006

 

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