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MEDIA REPORTS

BIODIVERSITY AND WILDLIFE

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2009

 

Biodiversity and Wildlife Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

 

DECEMBER 2009

 

FAO ADVISORY PANEL RECOMMENDS LIMITING TRADE IN CERTAIN SHARK SPECIES
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) convened an advisory panel of independent experts to formulate recommendations regarding six proposals to limit international trade in a number of commercially exploited aquatic animals under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The advisory panel, which consisted of 22 international fishery experts from 15 different countries, determined that sufficient evidence exists to warrant controlling trade in the following species: the Oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus); Porbeagle (Lamna nasus); the Scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini); the Great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran); and the Smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena). The panel did not reach consensus regarding the proposed ban in trade of the Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), but there was consensus that the evidence available supports the control in trade of this species. Finally, the panel assessed that Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and all species of the coral family Coralliidae did not meet the CITES criteria required to control their trade. The proposals will be considered for listing at the 15th Conference of CITES parties, scheduled to take place in Doha, Qatar, from 13-25 March 2010.

Link to further information

FAO press release, 14 December 2009

 

NOVEMBER 2009

 

US PATENT EXAMINERS GET ACCESS TO INDIA’S TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE LIBRARY

The Government of India has granted the United States Patent and Trademark Office access to its Traditional Knowledge Digital Library. Access to the digital library will help US patent examiners prevent the patenting, and thus misappropriation, of existing and documented traditional knowledge. A similar agreement has already been signed between India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the European Patent Office.

 

Link to further information

USPTO press release, 23 November 2009

CITES LISTING PROPOSED FOR BLUEFIN TUNA, POLAR BEARS, SHARKS
Listing proposals submitted to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for consideration at its 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) address, among other species, Atlantic bluefin tuna, polar bears, sharks, corals and elephant ivory. The proposal on Atlantic bluefin tuna submitted by Monaco has already attracted considerable attention, after causing controversy within the European Union. Scientists of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) met from 21-23 October 2009, in Madrid, Spain, to develop scientific advice for the ICCAT Commissioners on the condition of Atlantic bluefin tuna with respect to the biological criteria applied for listing commercially-exploited aquatic species under CITES Appendices. According to media reports, the scientific meeting indicated that a global ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna fishing is justified. A decision will be taken by the 21st Regular Meeting of ICCAT, to be held from 6-15 November 2009, in Recife, Brazil.

Links to further information
Environment News service, 29 October 2009
CITES proposals
Mongabay.com, 29 October 2009

ICCAT scientific meeting report

OCTOBER 2009

CITES COP TO DISCUSS ATLANTIC TUNA AND SHARKS LISTING PROPOSALS, MEETING PREPARATIONS UNDER WAY
An Appendix-I listing proposal for Atlantic bluefin tuna submitted by Monaco and proposals for Appendix-II listings of eight species of sharks, red and pink coral, and a range of waxes and oils used in cosmetics are among the proposals to be considered at the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (COP-15), scheduled for 13-25 March 2010, in Doha, Qatar. The full listing of species proposals will be posted on the CITES website. The CITES Secretariat has posted additional information on COP-15, including a registration form and hotel and visa information.

Links to further information
Reuters, 15 October 2009
Notification 2009/045: Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties – general information

SEPTEMBER 2009

EU COUNTRIES REJECT BLUEFIN TUNA LISTING PROPOSAL
EU Member States were unable to reach the qualified majority needed to adopt the European Commission’s proposal to co-sponsor Monaco’s attempt to list bluefin tuna under appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as a result of opposition from Spain, Malta, Italy, France, Greece and Cyprus. EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas regretted the decision, while Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said it was now up to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to assume its full responsibility to ensure the recovery of bluefin tuna.

Links to further information
EurAct.com, 22 September 2009
Environment News Service, 30 September 2009

CBD SECRETARIAT STRENGTHENS COOPERATION WITH UNEP-WCMC, UNWTO
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP-WCMC) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation that sets out a work programme of cooperation between the CBD and UNEP-WCMC. The multi-year programme of work builds on an agreement established in March 2006, on the existing collaboration between UNEP-WCMC and the CBD Secretariat and Parties, in order to bring the technical and capacity-building expertise within UNEP-WCMC to bear on the improved implementation of the Convention and enhance the preparation of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to be held from 19-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan.

On the margins of the third World Climate Conference, the CBD Secretariat signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), aiming to raise public awareness of the inter-relationship between biodiversity and tourism. Both parties will work towards maximizing tourism’s positive contribution to conserving biodiversity and enhancing the quality of life of local people.

Links to further information
CBD communiqué, 3 September 2009
CBD-UNWTO joint press release, 4 September 2009

EUROPEANS CONSIDER BLUEFIN TUNA CITES LISTING PROPOSAL
According to reports, European Ministers are considering a proposal to add bluefin tuna to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in response to warnings of a fish stocks collapse from scientists. Such a listing, if accepted by the upcoming 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (13-25 March 2010, Doha, Qatar), would automatically implement a temporary ban on all international trade.

Links to further information
ICTSD Bridges Trade BioRes, 4 September 2009
EurActiv.com, 1 September 2009

SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS SVALBARD SEED VAULT
During his visit to the Arctic, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. He recalled that the Vault provides back-up protection for seed collections held by every country, representing an essential insurance policy for the international community within the framework of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Stressing that the seeds contain the essential characteristics that plant breeders and farmers will need to ensure that crops become climate-ready and more productive, he highlighted that the Vault is a creative initiative to fight for food security in the face of climate change in a much longer term.

Link to further information
UN news release, 2 September 2009

TEEB UPDATE HIGHLIGHTS ECOSYSTEM PRESERVATION’S KEY ROLE IN COUNTERING CLIMATE CHANGE
Investing in the restoration and maintenance of the Earth’s ecosystems can play a key role in countering climate change and climate-proofing vulnerable economies, says a new climate issues update by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project, which was launched by Germany and the European Commission and is hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The issues update was launched by TEEB study leader Pavan Sukhdev, with German Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, European Commission Director-General for Environment Karl Falkenberg, and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. The update indicates that ecosystems represent one of the biggest untapped allies against climate change, and underlines the need for an agreement on funding for forests and for addressing damage caused by rising temperatures and ocean acidification to coral reefs.
Investing in ecosystem-based measures such as financing Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) could assist in combating climate change and also be a key anti-poverty and adaptation measure. Coral reefs, on the other hand, have a key role to play in coastal defense against a predicted rise in storm surges and other extreme weather events.

Links to further information
UNEP press release, 2 September 2009

TEEB website

GEF FUNDS INNOVATIVE PAYMENT FOR ECOSYSTEM SERVICES (PES) PROJECT
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is funding a project in Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua aimed at improving ecosystem functioning of degraded pasture lands through the silvo-pastoral systems that generate global environmental benefits while providing socio-economic benefits. Perhaps one of the most innovative outcomes of this project is the establishment of a differentiated payment scheme according to the degree of environmental service being provided, thus providing incentives for higher levels of conservation.

Link to further information
GEF press release

CBD MEMBERSHIP REACHES 192
During August 2009, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) announced that Iraq acceded to the Convention and will become its 192nd party on 26 October 2009.

Link to further information
CBD communiqué

EVALUATION OF COSTS OF ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE PUBLISHED
The International Institute for Environment and Development (UK) and the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London (UK) have published an evaluation entitled “Assessing the costs of adaptation to climate change: a review of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other recent estimates.” The costs have been used as the basis for discussion regarding the levels of investment needed for adaptation to climate change and have been influential in the debate concerning funding for climate change. The purpose of the report is to assess these estimates and consider ways to improve them in the future.

The report maintains that the real costs of adaptation are likely to be two to three times greater than estimates for the year 2030 made by the UNFCCC in 2007, and it indicates that this underestimation could weaken the outcome of UNFCCC negotiations, which are due to culminate in Copenhagen in December. The UNFCCC has estimated the global costs of adapting to climate change to be US$40-$170 billion each year. But the report’s authors say that these estimates were produced too quickly and did not include key sectors such as energy, manufacturing, retailing, mining, tourism and ecosystems. Other sectors that the UNFCCC did include were only partially covered. The report also evaluates estimates of the costs of adaptation made by preceding studies by the World Bank, 2006; by Sir Nicholas Stern, 2006; by Oxfam, 2007; and by the UN Development Programme, 2007.

Links to further information
The report
ENS News report, 27 August 2009

JULY 2009

FISHING NATIONS CALL FOR GLOBAL BLUEFIN TUNA BAN
Monaco, France, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany have announced that they would support listing the endangered Northern Bluefin Tuna under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties will be held in Doha, Qatar, from 13-25 March 2010, and parties are to submit proposals for additions to its lists by 17 October 2009 in order to be eligible for consideration. Monaco was the first to communicate its willingness to sponsor a proposal to ban international trade in the species and has launched a formal CITES consultation process to seek the support of other range States. Bluefin tuna’s dramatic decline is caused by, inter alia, overcapacity of fishing fleets, pirate fishing, the use of illegal spotting planes to chase tuna, under-reporting of catch, fishing during the closed season, and  management measures that disregard scientific advice.

Link to further information
Traffic press release, 16 July 2009

ENOLA BEAN PATENT REJECTED
On 10 July 2009, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that US patent 5,894,079 (the “Enola” bean patent), which claims a yellow bean of Mexican origin, is invalid because none of the patent claims meet the criterion of non-obviousness. It is recalled that the patent was first challenged in 2000, as the “Enola” bean was similar to a bean developed by farmers and widely known and used in Latin America.

Links to further information
ETC Group news release, 14 July 2009

The Court’s decision

SHARING GENETIC RESOURCES KEY TO ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN AFRICA
As temperatures in Africa rise rapidly, the food security of many Africans will depend on farmers in one country gaining access to climatically suitable varieties cultivated in other African countries and beyond, a study published in Global Environmental Change concluded. The study, conducted by researchers at Stanford University’s Program on Food Security and the Global Crop Diversity Trust, warns that neglect of African crop collections held in genebanks means that breeders do not have access to all varieties of Africa’s primary cereal crops that would allow farmers to adapt to climate change.

Links to further information
Global Crop Diversity Trust press release, 19 June 2009
The
study’s abstract

JUNE 2009

EU MINISTERS CALL FOR INTEGRATION OF ECOSYSTEM GOODS AND SERVICES INTO SECTORAL POLICIES
Meeting on 25 June 2009, the EU Environment Ministers expressed great concern following the European Commission’s recent assessment that the EU is unlikely to meet its 2010 target of halting biodiversity loss. They asked the Commission to assess the effectiveness of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas; suggested examining the impact of EU rural development and fisheries policies on biodiversity; and stressed that ecosystem goods and services should be better integrated into sectoral policies at the national and EU level. Ministers also stressed the need for sustainability criteria for biofuels, and asked the Commission to prepare a strategy on invasive alien species by 2010.

Links to further information
Environment Council Conclusions, 25 June 2009
Euractiv.com, 29 June 2009

CBD SECRETARIAT LAUNCHES NEW OUTREACH INITIATIVE
On the occasion of World Environment Day, celebrated on 5 June, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) unveiled a new communication initiative on biodiversity, in partnership with Airbus and the National Geographic Society. Under a campaign banner of “See the Bigger Picture,” it is designed to contribute to international efforts to raise public awareness on biodiversity.

Link to further information
CBD press release, 5 June 2009

MAY 2009

WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY 2009 FOCUSES ON BARRIERS TO MIGRATION
Celebrated from 9-10 May 2009, the World Migratory Bird Day took as its theme “Barriers to Migration.” It aimed to highlight the effects man-made structures such as wind turbines, communication masts, tall buildings and windows, power lines and fences have on migratory birds. Such structures can not only disturb the migratory movements of birds, but it is estimated that bird-strikes due to collisions with man-made structures are responsible for the deaths of many millions of birds worldwide each year. World Migratory Bird Day is a global initiative devoted to celebrating migratory birds and promoting their conservation worldwide. It is organized by the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Links to further information
World Migratory Bird Day webpage
UNEP/CMS/AEWA press release, 8 May 2009

APRIL 2009

NORDIC COUNTRIES, RUSSIA AND ESTONIA TO COOPERATE ON GENETIC RESOURCES
The Nordic countries, the Russian Federation and Estonia have signed a memorandum of understanding aiming to develop a framework of cooperation to support and streamline the preservation and utilization of genetic resources.

Link to further information
Norden press release, 22 April 2009

UNEP-WCMC CARRIES OUT SURVEY TO EVALUATE CBD INDICATORS
The World Conservation Monitoring Centre of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP-WCMC) is carrying out an online survey aiming to facilitate the scientific and technical evaluation of the current set of indicators used by the CBD and draw conclusions for biodiversity monitoring beyond 2010. The survey will be open until 30 April 2009.

Link to further information
The survey

WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY 2009 TO FOCUS ON OBSTACLES TO MIGRATION
The Secretariats of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) have announced the countdown for World Migratory Bird Day 2009. The two-day awareness-raising campaign will take place globally from 9-10 May 2009. Its central theme will be “Barriers to Migration,” highlighting the threat posed by man-made obstacles to birds during their annual migration.

Link to further information
AEWA press release

MARCH 2009

ARCTIC COUNCIL AND CBD SIGN MEMORANDUM OF COOPERATION
The Arctic Council Working Group on Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signed a memorandum of cooperation aiming at increasing cooperation and addressing the increased challenges to arctic flora and fauna as a result of climate change.

Link to further information
Arctic Council press release, 31 March 2009

PROJECT TO STRENGTHEN WATERBIRD AND WETLAND CONSERVATION IN NORTH AFRICA
A new three-year project on “Strengthening waterbird and wetland conservation capacities in North Africa (WetCap)” is embarking on its first year of implementation. Within the framework of this project, capacity-building activities will take place in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania. The WetCap project is linked to the ongoing UNEP-GEF African-Eurasian Flyway Project (“Wings over Wetlands”). It will be implemented under the umbrella of the UNEP Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), in cooperation with BirdLife International, SEO/BirdLife, Wetlands International and the Ramsar Convention.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 23 March 2009

IMO AND UNDP LAUNCH BIOINVASIONS ALLIANCE
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN Development Programme, the Global Environment Facility and four private shipping corporations launched the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) on 2 March 2009, at IMO headquarters in London, UK, to tackle the threats of marine bio-invasions caused by the transfer of alien plants and animals in ships’ ballast tanks. According to the IMO, approximately 10 billion tons of ballast water are carried around the globe each year, and over 3,000 species of plants and animals are transferred daily. The GIA aims to harness the skills and expertise of its partners to develop concrete solutions to this global environmental hazard and develop cost effective water treatment technologies and new ship design options.

 

Links to further information
GIA Website
IMO Press Release, 2 March 2009

GEF AND WORLD BANK SUPPORT NEW TIGER CONSERVATION PROJECT
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and World Bank, along with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), announced a US$2.8 million project to involve all tiger range states in high-level discussions for tiger conservation. The project will complement existing efforts under the Global Tiger Initiative and will support the broad participation of other conservation organizations, including TRAFFIC, WWF and IUCN. Other project activities include assistance to local governments in China and Vietnam to reduce illegal wildlife trade, one of the main threats facing wild tigers.

Links to further information
GEF press release, 26 February 2009
Global Tiger Initiative

FEBRUARY 2009

SVALBARD GLOBAL SEED VAULT CELEBRATES FIRST ANNIVERSARY
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a facility storing copies of seeds in existing collections to guard against loss in the case of major natural disasters and operating in the framework of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, celebrated its first anniversary on 26 February 2009. To mark the anniversary, international researchers gathered for a seminar on “Frozen Seeds in a Frozen Mountain – Feeding a Warming World.” The Vault has already received more than 320,000 seed species from all over the world, with one the latest shipments coming from the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

Links to further information
Norden press release, 25 February 2009
Agricultural Research Service press release, 19 February 2009
Environment News Network, 26 February 2009
Environment News Service, 26 February 2009

INDIA LAUNCHES TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE DATABASE, GRANTS ACCESS TO EPO EXAMINERS
In an effort to protect its traditional knowledge, mainly traditional medicine and yoga postures, from misappropriation through patents granted abroad, India has finalized the world’s first-ever Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, containing 30 million pages of ancient medical knowledge translated to five languages, including English. The Indian government has already granted the European Patent Office (EPO) access to the Digital Library, to allow EPO examiners to evaluate patent applications and to better treat attempts to patent traditional knowledge as “new” inventions.

The move to protect traditional knowledge in India mirrors the country’s efforts, supported by other countries, to ensure disclosure of origin of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in patent applications in several international forums, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Links to further information
ICTSD Bridges Weekly, 25 February 2009
EPO news release, 11 February 2009

KENYA BLAMES ELEPHANT POACHING ON 2008 IVORY SALE
One of Kenya’s major national parks, Tsavo National Park, has seen a rise in elephant poaching, with five elephants killed in six weeks. According to reports, Kenyan officials have attributed the rise to the 2008 ivory sale that was authorized by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to take place under strict conditions in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. 

Link to further information
The Independent, 25 February 2009

EC’S DIMAS HIGHLIGHTS CHALLENGES TOWARDS THE 2010 BIODIVERSITY TARGET
Addressing the Environment Committee of the European Parliament, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas has put enforcement of the EU plan to halt biodiversity loss by 2010 at the top of his political priorities for 2009. He highlighted challenges ahead, including consolidating the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, ensuring sustainable fishing, strictly applying sustainability criteria for biofuels, and addressing European consumption patterns, soil protection and invasive alien species.

Link to further information
EC press release, 12 February 2009

RECORD WILDLIFE SEIZURE IN VIETNAM
Vietnamese authorities have made their largest-ever seizure of illegally-harvested wildlife products of direct interest to the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Vietnam’s Environmental Police discovered a stockpile of two tons of tiger bones, bear paws and gall bladders, as well as bones from various increasingly rare wild animals, and arrested three people.

Link to further information
Bridges Trade BioRes, 6 February 2009

EU LAUNCHES PLAN TO PROTECT SHARKS IN EUROPEAN WATERS
The European Commission has recently released a plan of action for the conservation of sharks. The first-ever conservation plan for one of the world’s most vulnerable predators aims to improve information about shark fisheries, end shark overfishing, pay special attention to threatened shark species and close loopholes in the EU ban on shark finning. It includes actions at national, EU and international levels. EU Fisheries Ministers are expected to agree “Council Conclusions” on the Plan at the Fisheries Council meeting in April 2009. Negotiations on a memorandum of understanding on migratory shark conservation are currently ongoing under auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Links to further information
Shark Alliance press release, 5 February 2009
The Guardian, 6 February 2009

AUTHORS ARGUE THAT ABS NEGOTIATIONS COULD STIFLE ACADEMIC RESEARCH
Scientists must speak up in the access and benefit-sharing (ABS) negotiations taking place under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) or risk losing access to critical biological resources, say Sikina Jinnah and Stefan Jungcurt. The authors argue that several outstanding issues in the negotiations impact academics, including whether samples extracted exclusively for non-commercial academic research will be exempt from the ABS regulations.

Link to further information
SciDev.net, 30 January 2009
Jinnah and Jungcurt, “Could Access Requirements Stifle Your Research?” Science 23 January 2009: 464-465

INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMS DAY OBSERVED
International Customs Day was observed on 26 January 2009, with the theme “Customs and the Environment: Protecting our Natural Heritage.” Celebrations at the World Customs Organization (WCO) in Brussels, Belgium, highlighted the growing problem of illegal trade in environmentally sensitive items, including ozone depleting substances, as well as measures developed by the WCO to put in place relevant international agreements’ provisions related to the trade of ozone depleting substances and other environmentally-sensitive items.

Link to more information
Information note

JANUARY 2009

OCEAN FERTILIZATION EXPERIMENT PROCEEDS DESPITE PROTESTS
Despite concerns voiced by environmental organizations and the German Environment Ministry, the German Minister of Research decided to re-authorize the LOHAFEX ocean fertilization expedition, and the German vessel RV Polarstern is reported to have began dumping six tons of iron sulphate in the Scotia Sea near Antarctica to induce an algal bloom. The German Environment Minister “took note with regret” of the re-authorization decision, noting that the project is not compatible with the decision taken at the ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) since it is not carried out in coastal waters and independent monitoring is not guaranteed.

In related news, a study published in Nature three days after the German Ministry of Research granted its approval, measured the amount of carbon dioxide that is sequestered in the deep ocean by plankton when it dies, and found the amount to be 80 times lower than estimated during an earlier study. The researchers say the results reveal the complexity of the ocean carbon cycle.

Links to further information
German Environment Ministry press release, 26 January 2009
ETC Group press release, 28 January 2009
The Independent, 29 January 2009

Mongabay.com, 29 January 2009

OCEAN FERTILIZATION EXPERIMENT SUSPENDED
An Indo-German iron fertilization experiment (LOHAFEX) near Antarctica has been suspended, pending an independent assessment of its environmental impact. The suspension follows intervention by the German Ministry for Education and Research following pressure from environmental groups. The Montreal-based ETC Group, the Indian Biodiversity Forum and others had protested against the experiment on the ground that it was fraught with severe ecological consequences and violated the moratorium on ocean fertilization decided upon by the ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The experiment envisaged dumping of about 20 tonnes of iron sulphate in the Scotia Sea near Antarctica to induce an algal bloom.

Links to further information
ETC Group news release, 8 January 2009
ETC Group news release, 13 January 2009
Environment News Network, 10 January 2009
The Hindu, 17 January 2009
Nature, 9 January 2009

UNEP/CMS PROJECTS UNVEILED DURING YEAR OF THE GORILLA ICE-SKATING EVENT
Three projects aimed at countering the gorilla’s slide towards extinction were spotlighted as the international Year of the Gorilla (YoG) 2009 got underway with a “Gorillas on Thin Ice” event. The projects, which were drawn up by the UN Environment Programme Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (UNEP/CMS), seek to boost the prospects for the Cross River Gorilla, which is Africa’s rarest ape.

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 15 January 2009

GEF DEVELOPS FIVE NEW PROGRAMMATIC APPROACHES
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has highlighted its shift in the focus of its portfolio to a programme-based approach, in an effort to secure larger-scale and a more sustained impact on the global environment. In this regard, five new programme approaches approved by the GEF Council during its 34th Council meeting in November 2009 include: a GEF Strategic Programme for West Africa on Biodiversity, led by the World Bank, to scale-up biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in the region in support of poverty alleviation and growth; a GEF Strategic Programme for West Africa on Energy led by UNIDO, to scale up investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region; a Framework for Promoting Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Buildings led by UNDP, aimed at promoting low-energy and low-emissions buildings, with projects submitted by UNDP and some by UNEP; a programme to Reduce Industry’s Carbon Footprint in Southeast Asia through Compliance with a Management System for Energy, led by UNIDO, which aims to promote sustainable energy efficiency improvement in the industrial sector through training at the level of systems and facilitating the introduction of energy management standards, involving five national projects in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia; and a Strategic Programme for Sustainable Forest Management in the Congo Basin led by the World Bank, aimed at strengthening the protection and sustainable management of forest ecosystems, and also contributing to long-term innovative finance architecture for sustainable forest management in the region by supporting payment schemes for ecosystem services, public-private partnerships and the establishment/strengthening of trust funds. 

Links to further information
GEF Press Release, 9 January 2009
GEF Council documents

“ENORMOUS EFFORTS” NEEDED FOR THE EU TO HALT BIODIVERSITY LOSS BY 2010
With regard to the internationally agreed 2010 target to significantly reduce biodiversity loss, the European Commission has published its first comprehensive assessment of progress in implementing its Biodiversity Action Plan aimed at halting biodiversity loss in the EU by 2010. Its key conclusion is that the EU will fail to meet its target unless there is significant additional effort over the next two years. Despite some encouraging results, notably with the further extension of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas and important investments in biodiversity, the integration of biodiversity and ecosystem concerns into other sectoral policies remains an important challenge. The new Communication from the European Commission identifies priorities for further action.

Links to further information
EC Press Release, 16 December 2008
Communication from the Commission: A mid-term assessment of implementing the EC Biodiversity Action Plan

EurActiv.com, 17 December 2008

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