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MEDIA REPORTS

BIODIVERSITY AND WILDLIFE

This page was updated on: 12/09/10

 

2010

 

Biodiversity and Wildlife Media Reports Archives: 2009; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

 

Latest Media Reports

GEF Supports Tiger Initiatives

CGIAR Launches Crop Genebank Knowledge Base

International Year of Biodiversity Honored as Best Global Environmental Campaign

UNDP Portrays Latin America and Caribbean as a Biodiversity Superpower

 

DECEMBER 2010

 

GEF Supports Tiger Initiatives

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) highlighted its support for initiatives to save the tiger during the International Tiger Conservation Forum, which took place in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, from 21-24 November 2010. The GEF indicated it will provide up to US$50 million in grants to save the tiger, through contributions to be invested by developing countries using their GEF allocations in biodiversity, supplemented by investments from its REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) Program. The GEF will also collaborate with the World Bank and other development partners in the Global Tiger Recovery Program. The GEF commitment on this issue complements the recently launched “Save Our Species” (www.SOSpecies.org) initiative, a partnership between the GEF, the World Bank and IUCN to attract private sector investments in species conservation and expected to become one of the largest and most comprehensive fund to protect globally threatened species. [GEF CEO statement to Tiger Summit] [GEF post on BIODIVERSITY-L] [International Tiger Conservation Forum website]

 

CGIAR Launches Crop Genebank Knowledge Base

December 2010: The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has launched the Crop Genebank Knowledge Base, an online resource easing access for genebank managers and conservationists to crop-specific knowledge, best practices and other resources for germplasm management. The knowledgebase is part of the CGIAR System-wide Genetic Resources Programme, which facilitates collaborative activities of individual CGIAR centers with regard to crop genetic resources conservation. The knowledgebase contains detailed information on a number of crop and forage species as well as regeneration guidelines for specific crops, general conservation procedures for genebanks and information on germplasm management strategies. The knowledgebase seeks to provide a one-stop library and learning tool with an extensive selection of publications, guidebooks, training manuals, photos, videos, a glossary, and other learning resources. [CGIAR press release] [Crop Genebank Knowledge Base]

 

International Year of Biodiversity Honored as Best Global Environmental Campaign

3 December 2010: With the slogan “Biodiversity is Life. Biodiversity is our Life,” the UN International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) won the coveted 2010 Award for best Green International Campaign, in recognition of the strength of a campaign that inspired activities throughout the world that showcase the value and beauty of biodiversity. http://iisdrs.iisd.org/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gifThe award ceremony was held on 2 December 2010, in London’s Natural History Museum. The campaign for the International Year of Biodiversity encouraged people to learn about the biodiversity that surrounds them, to discover how it contributes to their lives and well-being, and to take actions that would ensure that it is preserved and used sustainably. Throughout the year, activities were held around the world in 191 countries.  The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has served as the UN’s focal point for the Year. [CBD press release] [Green Awards 2010 Winners]

 

UNDP Portrays Latin America and Caribbean as a Biodiversity Superpower

2 December 2010: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a report titled "Latin America and the Caribbean: A Biodiversity Superpower" during the Ibero-American Summits of Heads of State and Governments held in Mar del Plata, Argentina. http://iisdrs.iisd.org/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gifThe report is part of a UNDP initiative to assess and communicate the economic contribution of biodiversity and ecosystems services to development and equity in the region. It aims to inform policy makers and businesses in the region about the economic risks and opportunities of undertaking productive activities on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The report is also a tool to assist governments and stakeholders to incorporate ecosystem services into economic planning, policy and investment at the sectoral level. It argues that ecosystem services can build resilience to climate change in the agriculture sector by protecting genetic resources, soil fertility, and water quality, as well as through the conservation of protected areas.

Among the recommendations provided by the report are: applying tax breaks to direct public and private investments to conserve ecosystems; raising awareness among policymakers, consumers and the rural poor; and investing in biodiversity and ecosystems services-based technologies, products and markets. UNDP launched this initiative in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and with the financial support from the government of Spain. [UNDP press release] [Report website]

 

NOVEMBER 2010

 

IRRI Supplies Thousands of Seed Samples to Global Vault

November 2010: The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)  has sent a second contribution of rice seed samples to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.http://iisdrs.org/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif IRRI sent over 40,000 seeds in this delivery and over 70,000 seeds in a previous shipment. The seed vault is kept at ideal temperatures and conditions for preserving seeds for hundreds of years. The seeds deposited in the Global Seed Vault are duplicates of rice seeds stored in IRRI's laboratory in the Philippines. The seeds in the Global Seed Vault are kept in long-term storage, and a sample is used for distribution to farmers, abiding by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR). Operational costs of the Vault are supported by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an independent organization. [IRRI press release]

 

European Commission Issues Guidelines on Wind Energy in Protected Areas

29 October 2010: The European Commission has issued guidelines for wind energy development in protected areas, recognizing the potential negative impacts of poorly sited or designed wind farms on vulnerable species and habitats. The guidelines apply to the Natura 2000 network – an EU-wide ecological network of nearly 26,000 sites covering almost 18% of the EU's land area. Wind energy deployment is not automatically excluded from the Natura 2000 network. The guidelines highlight the importance of strategic planning and quality assessment of new developments, and contain best practice examples. Wind energy is expected to play a significant role in reaching the EU target of obtaining 20% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. [EU press release] [The guidance]

 

OCTOBER 2010

 

Palau Announces Marine Sanctuary

Palau's Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism, Harry Fritz, announced the creation of a marine sanctuary for whales, dolphins and dugongs during Oceans Day, held on 23 October 2010, on the sidelines of the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan. The sanctuary covers all of Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone - more than 600,000 square kilometers, and complements a shark sanctuary created by Palau in 2009. [SPREP press release]

 

GEF Launches International Partnership to Protect Production Ecosystems

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) launched the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative, a platform for organizations engaged in integrating conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in production landscapes, including forests and agricultural lands. The GEF will facilitate the use of its grant modalities, including enabling activities, Small Grants Programme (SGP), and medium and full size projects, as leveraged opportunities for activities related to the Satoyama Initiative, provided they are eligible under the GEF-5 Biodiversity Focal Area Strategy, and attend to country needs and priorities. [GEF press release]

 

CITES Commends Czechs for Combating Illegal Trade in Parrots

6 October 2010: The Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has awarded a Certificate of Commendation to the General Directorate of Customs of the Czech Republic and the Czech Environmental Inspectorate in recognition of their exemplary efforts to combat illegal trade in parrots. Since 2006, the two agencies have collaborated on a long-term investigation relating to the smuggling of rare parrots, which has required liaison and coordination with other law enforcement bodies around the world and with the INTERPOL General Secretariat. The investigation has uncovered widespread forgery of CITES documents, false declarations of captive breeding, and use of fake marking rings. [UNEP press release]

 

SEPTEMBER 2010

 

Turkey Designates No Take Fishing Zones in Gökova Bay

20 September 2010: With the support of the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), the Underwater Research Society (SAD) initiated a project on establishment of No Take Fishing Zone (NTFZ) Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Turkish Gökova Bay in 2009. In Turkey, overfishing and over capacity of fishing fleets pose serious threats to the marine biodiversity. Through a participatory process, the SAD established NTFZs that will benefit marine habitats where valuable fish stocks already collapsed and invasive Lesepsian fish have serious impact grazing on algae cover in the littoral zones. These NTFZs were officially announced in July 2010, and are the first in the country. [GEF press release]

 

JUNE 2010

 

CMS Warns Against Climate Change Catastrophe for Migratory Species

24 June 2010: According to the preliminary findings of research undertaken by the Zoological Society of London for the UN Environment Programme's Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS), species such as turtles and whales are exceptionally vulnerable to climate change. The study, commissioned by the UNEP/CMS Secretariat, aims to identify how climate change is likely to affect individual migratory species and the degree of threat that they face. The first wave of assessments has focused on species that undergo cyclic and predictable long-distance migrations, with the final study due to be completed in summer 2010. A leaflet titled “Climate Change Impacts on Migratory Species - the Path Ahead” summarizes the emerging results from an assessment of CMS Appendix I species, in order to provide early guidance to policy makers. Preliminary findings show that even the subtle changes in environmental conditions that could be caused by climate change could have catastrophic consequences for migratory animals. The preliminary findings and actions needed to avert disaster for migratory species were discussed on 24 June 2010, in a series of talks launching the new book “Survival: Saving Endangered Migratory Species,” authored by CMS Ambassador Stanley Johnson and Robert Vagg. An executive summary of the project has also been submitted as an information document to the 16th meeting of the CMS Scientific Council, held from 28-30 June 2010, in Bonn, Germany. [CMS press release] [Executive summary on the report’s findings] [Leaflet on climate change impacts on migratory species – the path ahead]

 

AUSTRALIA INSTITUTES ICJ PROCEEDINGS AGAINST JAPAN FOR ALLEGED BREACH IN INTERNATIONAL LAW ON WHALING

31 May 2010: The Government of Australia instituted proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the Government of Japan, alleging that the Japanese Whale Research Programme is in breach of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), as well as its other international obligations for the preservation of marine mammals and marine environment.  Australia argues that the programme is not relevant for the conservation and management of whale stocks, and presents risks to targeted species and stocks. As such, it cannot be justified under Article VIII of the ICRW, which regulates the granting of special permits to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research. Australia also argues that Japan has breached its obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

 

Link to further information

ICJ press release, 1 June 2010

 

UNWTO TO CELEBRATE TOURISM AND BIODIVERSITY

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced that celebrations for 2010 World Tourism Day will take place under the theme: Tourism and Biodiversity. World Tourism Day will be celebrated on 27 September 2010, and will be officially hosted by Guangdong Province, China. UNWTO is holding a global online photo competition to raise awareness of the World Tourism Day theme, with applications due by 31 August 2010.

 

Link to further information

UNWTO web site

UNWTO World Tourism Day web site

 

NESTLE ACCUSED OF BIOPIRACY

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, is facing allegations of biopiracy after it applied for patents involving two plants found in South Africa without having negotiated permission to use them with the South African government. At issue are two plants found in South Africa, rooibos and honeybush, both of which are commonly used to make herbal teas. Nestec, a Nestlé subsidiary, filed four international patent applications for using the plants or extracts from them to treat hair and skin conditions such as acne, wrinkles, and hair loss. A fifth application sought patent protection for using rooibos as an anti-inflammatory. The Berne Declaration, a Swiss non-governmental organization (NGO), and Natural Justice, a South African environmental law NGO, accused Nestlé of having violated the South African law implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity by failing to file for a permit to use rooibos and honeybush and to sign a benefit-sharing agreement.

 

Links to further information

Berne declaration and Natural Justice press release

Berne declaration and Natural Justice briefing paper: Dirty Business for Clean Skin: Nestlé’s Rooibos Robbery in South Africa  

ICTSD Bridges Trade BioRes, 31 May 2010

 

MAY 2010

 

IAN REDMOND APPOINTED CMS AMBASSADOR

Ian Redmond has accepted the invitation of the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) to become a CMS Ambassador. Ian Redmond, associated with mountain gorillas through research, filming, tourism and conservation work for more than 30 years, will advocate the cause of all species covered by CMS.

 

Link to further information

CMS press release, 28 May 2010

 

MASS SAIGA ANTELOPE DIE-OFF IN KAZAKHSTAN

Nearly 12,000 critically endangered saiga antelopes have been recently found dead in the Ural population in western Kazakhstan. The dead were mostly females who had recently given birth, as well as their calves. The official 2009 estimate of the size of the Ural population was 26,000 animals, and the population has just been through an unusually harsh winter, so these deaths represent a severe blow to this population and to the species as a whole. The cause of the deaths is still unclear, and is currently under investigation.

 

Link to further information

Saiga Conservation Alliance press release, 28 May 2010

 

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CONVEYS MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR BIODIVERSITY

On the occasion of this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity, to be celebrated on 22 May 2010 under the theme “Biodiversity, Development and Poverty Alleviation,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need to reflect on the root causes of biodiversity decline and take action to arrest it. Highlighting the integration of the 2010 biodiversity target into the Millennium Development Goals, he underscored the need for a new vision to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, and the equitable sharing of the benefits from its use, and to also recognize the close links between natural capital and development objectives.

 

Links to further information

International Day for Biodiversity website

Message of the Secretary-General

 

WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY 2010 FOCUSES ON GLOBALLY THREATENED MIGRATORY BIRDS

Organized by the Secretariats of the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species

(CMS) and the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement, with the support of several partners, the 2010 World Migratory Bird Day was celebrated from 8-9 May 2010 with several events around the world, including bird festivals, educational programmes, presentations and birdwatching trips, as well an international photo competition. This year’s central theme was “Save migratory birds in crisis – every species counts!” It sought to raise awareness about globally threatened migratory birds, with a particular focus on birds on the edge of extinction.

 

Link to further information

World Migratory Bird Day web site

 

APRIL 2010

 

UN-BACKED STUDY HIGHLIGHTS RAPID AND CONTINUING BIODIVERSITY LOSS

Global biodiversity loss has been continued at an alarming rate despite commitments to curb such decline, a new UN-supported study shows. Compiling over 30 indicators – measures of different aspects of biodiversity, including changes in species’ populations and risk of extinction, habitat extent and community composition – the study found no evidence for a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity decline, while the pressures facing biodiversity continue to increase. The synthesis provides overwhelming evidence that the 2010 target has not been achieved. The results of the study, which is authored by the 2010 Biodiversity Indicator Partnership and published in Science, will feed into the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, to be released during the fourteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which will be held from 10-21 May 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya. The 2010 Biodiversity Indicator Partnership, coordinated by UNEP-WCMC, brings together over 40 organizations working internationally on indicator development.

 

Links to further information

UNEP-WCMC press release, 29 April 2010

Abstract: S. Butchart et al “Global Biodiversity: Indicators of Recent Declines,” Science, 29 April 2010

Supporting online material, April 2010

 

NEW ZEALAND ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR UNDRIP AT OPENING OF UNPFII

During the first day of the ninth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which is meeting from 19-30 May 2010, at the UN Headquarters in New York, US, the representative of New Zealand announced that the country will reverse its decision and support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Indigenous leaders attending the forum described the shift in New Zealand’s policy as a positive sign for the struggle of indigenous peoples to protect their lands, resources, culture and languages. The shift is also expected to impact ongoing negotiations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on access and benefit-sharing, and deliberations on Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge).

 

Links to further information

UN news release, 19 April 2010

IPS, 19 April 2010

 

UNGA TO HOLD HIGH-LEVEL EVENT ON BIODIVERSITY

To mark the International Year of Biodiversity, the UN General Assembly decided on 15 April 2010 to hold a high-level event on biodiversity, on 22 September 2010, the eve of the opening of the general debate of its 65th session. The high-level event will provide an occasion for world leaders to provide political impetus and support for a sustained global response to the world’s biodiversity challenges, and the need to address each of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. During the high-level event, roundtable discussions will discuss post-2010 biodiversity targets, the links between climate change and biodiversity, and the importance of biodiversity to poverty alleviation and development and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

 

Link to further information

CBD press release, 16 April 2010

 

PACIFIC TERRITORY OF TOKELAU DESIGNATES WHALE SANCTUARY

The Government of Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific, has designated its entire Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as a whale sanctuary. In doing so, Tokelau joins 11 other Pacific countries and territories in declaring their EEZs as off-limits to whaling. Although Tokelau’s land area consists of just three coral atolls totaling 10km2, its EEZ covers 290,000 km2 of ocean.

 

Link to further information

Pacific Islands News Association, 14 April 2010

 

MARCH 2010

 

WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY TO FOCUS ON GLOBALLY THREATENED MIGRATORY BIRDS

The Secretariats of the UNEP African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (UNEP/AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS) have announced that the World Migratory Bird Day 2010 will be celebrated from 8-9 May 2010 under the theme “Save migratory birds in crisis – every species counts!” Held for the fifth consecutive year, this awareness-raising campaign aims to inspire people to take action for the conservation of migratory birds.

 

Link to further information

AEWA press release, 24 March 2010

 

ITTO AND CBD SIGN COLLABORATION AGREEMENT

The Secretariats of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance their collaboration over the four coming years. The MoU, based on a request from the governing bodies of both secretariats, is aimed at facilitating the implementation of activities linked to the conservation and sustainable use of tropical forest biodiversity within the CBD and ITTO work programmes. Concrete joint activities for 2010 and 2011 include collaboration on the seamless bridging of the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010 and the International Year of Forests in 2011; the organization of an International Conference on Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Tropical Forests; the development, use and dissemination of publications of common interest; and the development of a support programme for the implementation of the CBD programme of work on forest biodiversity in ITTO member countries.

 

Link to further information

CBD communiqué, 2 March 2010

 

UN WARNS OF HARMFUL IMPACT ON POOR FARMERS FROM NARROW USE OF BIOTECHNOLOGY

A conference on agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from 1-4 March 2010, considered the growing challenges of food security faced by developing countries. The meeting also explored opportunities and partnerships to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to choose and use appropriate biotechnologies. UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Assistant Director-General Modibo Traore noted that biotechnologies are not yet making a significant impact in the lives of people in most developing countries, as most countries still lack the appropriate technologies, policies and technical capacities, and necessary infrastructure and evaluation capacities.

 

According to FAO, biotechnological innovations can effectively mitigate the impact of climate change, with examples being the experience of rice hybrids in Africa, which have doubled agricultural production, and artificial insemination techniques to raise dairy cattle milk production in Bangladesh. FAO also stresses the need for greater involvement of farmers, particularly small-holders, institutions and communities to make the adequate decisions to choose the appropriate technologies. 

 

Link to further information

UN News Centre, 1 March 2010

 

UNESCO IOC PARTNERS WITH GOBI

The International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has partnered with the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI). The Initiative, which began in 2009, aims to help identify ecologically significant marine areas beyond national jurisdiction that are in need of protection.

 

Links to further information

UNESCO IOC press release, February 2010

GOBI website

UNESCO IOC website

 

FEBRUARY 2010

 

CITES SECRETARY GENERAL RELEASES STATEMENT ON ELEPHANTS AND IVORY

Willem Wijnstekers, Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), has released a statement responding to allegations questioning the integrity of the CITES Secretariat with regard to the wording of the nine-year moratorium on trade in elephant ivory, adopted at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to CITES, and the ivory-related proposals to be considered at COP 15, to be held from 13-25 March 2010, in Doha, Qatar. These refer to a proposal submitted by Tanzania and Zambia seeking an authorization to trade in stockpiled ivory, and a proposal by Congo, Ghana, Kenya and other African countries opposing such trade.

 

Link to further information

The statement, 26 February 2010

 

GEF HIGHLIGHTS CROP BIODIVERSITY PROJECT SUCCESS IN GEORGIA

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) featured the results of a project implemented with farmers in Georgia to reclaim forgotten crop varieties and landraces to diversify their agricultural production. The project has established a seed multiplication system to encourage local farmers to use and sow local landraces and by 2009, 28 land-races and varieties (52% of all known for Georgia) were being used for subsistence production, and seven land races (13% of all landraces) were in commercial use. Among the results of the project are: more than 80% of households are reporting higher pulse diversity on-farm, diversification of the family diet, and higher nutrition levels; the revived landraces and local varieties have demonstrated a much higher resistance to droughts, pests and harsh winters; and sales revenue for the farmers is rising with further financial returns gained through almost zero application of chemical fertilizers.

 

Links to further information

GEF press release, 9 February 2010

 

FOCUS ON BLUEFIN TUNA AS CITES COP APPROACHES

Over 40 proposals will be considered at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), including on the bluefin tuna, elephant populations and a wide range of sharks, corals, reptiles, insects and plants. According to CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers, “The marine theme of this year’s CITES conference is particularly striking.” Proposals will be considered to bring eight commercially fished species under the CITES appendices. Attention is particularly focused on Monaco’s proposal to list bluefin tuna under CITES Annex I. According to recent reports, France has announced its support for the proposal, with the condition of an 18-month waiting period to allow for further scientific investigation of the issue and possibly permit increased small-scale fishing in coastal waters.

 

Links to further information

UNEP press release, 5 February 2010

ICTSD Bridges Trade BioRes, 5 February 2010

 

JANUARY 2010

 

GEF HIGHLIGHTS SUCCESS OF PROTECTED AREAS IN NAMIBIA IN RAISING REVENUES

The Global Environment Facility (GEF), through UNDP, has funded a project to evaluate the contribution of protected areas to the Namibian economy and to strengthen Namibia’s protected areas systems. A comprehensive analysis of the protected area system indicated that protected areas contributed 3.1-6.3% of the country’s GDP through park based tourism only, without including other ecosystem services values, and the economic rate of return on the government investment over 20 years was as much as 23% if the tourism concession potential is fully realized. Using these study results, the Government increased the annual budget for park management and development by 300% in the last four years. The Ministry of Finance also agreed to earmark 25% of the park entrance revenue to be reinvested in park and wildlife management through a trust fund, providing up to US$2 million in additional sustainable financing per year.

 

Link to further information

GEF press release, 26 January 2010

 

AFRICA AT ODDS OVER CITES ELEPHANT PROPOSAL

Kenya and Mali are reported to be leading an effort to block a proposal by Tanzania and Zambia to move the population of the African elephant from Appendix I to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as well as to sell off their ivory stockpiles. According to reports, Kenya and Mali will try to convince some 27 CITES parties to vote against the proposal, during a meeting of East African nations held from 22-27 January 2010, in Brussels, Belgium. Kenya and Rwanda also have reportedly indicated that, because Tanzania proposed the one-off ivory sale without consulting neighboring countries that share elephant populations, they have betrayed the ‘spirit’ of conservation in the region. The proposals will be considered at the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, to be held from 13-25 March 2010, in Doha, Qatar.

 

Links to further information

AllAfrica.com, 17 January 2010

ICTSD Bridges Trade BioRes, 22 January 2010

 

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESENTS OPTIONS FOR 2020 BIODIVERSITY TARGETS

Recognizing its failure to deliver on a target to halt biodiversity loss in the EU by 2010, the European Commission has issued a communication outlining four policy options for a new 2020 target. The first option aims to slow the rate of biodiversity loss in Europe by 2020, while accepting that stopping it completely is “unattainable for the foreseeable future.” The second one proposes to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2020. The third one adds an additional commitment to restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services as far as possible. The fourth one mirrors the third option, coupled with efforts to step up the EU contribution to address global biodiversity loss. All options would set a mid-term target towards reaching a “2050 vision.” According to this vision, biodiversity and ecosystem services are “preserved, valued and, insofar as possible, restored for their intrinsic value” so that they can continue to support economic prosperity and human well-being.

 

Links to further information

The communication “Options for an EU vision and target for biodiversity beyond 2010” Commission press release, 19 January 2010

EurActiv.com, 20 January 2010

 

UN REPORT ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ POVERTY AND CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITY 

On 14 January 2010, the UN released its State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’ Report with the Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) Victoria Tauli-Corpuz describing the poverty situation of indigenous peoples in both developed and developing countries. The report provides disaggregated data that shows that indigenous persons often suffer from inadequate nutrition, lack of productive resources, limited access to education and health care, and vulnerability to environmental pollution and climate change despite their carbon neutral lifestyles – particularly in the Arctic and Pacific islands. The report highlights that the future of indigenous peoples is closely linked to solutions to the biodiversity loss and climate change crises.

 

The report indicates that there are about 370 million indigenous peoples worldwide, which comprises five per cent of the world’s population and one-third of the world’s 900 million extremely poor rural people. Data show that indigenous peoples’ life expectancy is up to 20 years lower than non-indigenous, and that indigenous communities have higher levels of maternal and infant mortality, malnutrition, malaria and tuberculosis, and other diseases.

On the same day, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) hosted a meeting with 16 indigenous representatives to prepare for the 20th anniversary of UNDP’s flagship Human Development Report. The meeting discussed how the concept of human development could encompass issues related to self-determination, cultural preservation, identity and spirituality, as well as the close connection of environmental integrity and well-being of indigenous peoples.  

 

Links to further information

UN Press Conference on State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’ Report
UNDP Newsroom

The report

INTERNATIONAL BIODIVERSITY YEAR KICKS OFF
In an effort to curb the unprecedented loss of the world’s species and ecosystems due to human activity, the United Nations is marking 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. Although initial celebrations began in November under the slogan “Biodiversity is life, biodiversity is our life,” the official launch took place on 11 January 2010, in Berlin, Germany. This will be followed by the first major event of the Year, a high-profile meeting at the Paris headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), on 21 and 22 January 2010. Several other events will follow throughout the year in venues around world, culminating in a high-level meeting at UN Headquarters in New York at the start of the General Assembly’s 65th annual General Debate in September and an official closing in Kanazawa, Japan, in December 2010.

In related news, Puma and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) established a strategic partnership to support biodiversity worldwide and specific initiatives in Africa. The “Play for Life� partnership will support the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity by raising awareness about habitat and species conservation among football fans and the general public during worldwide football events.

Links to further information
IYB website
UN news release, 1 January 2010
UNEP press release, 6 January 2010

UNEP press release, 11 January 2010

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