UN scheme to keep tabs on global biological diversity

12 July 2007

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched an over $8 million initiative to monitor conservation efforts to protect the world’s biological diversity.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched an over $8 million initiative to monitor conservation efforts to protect the world’s biological diversity.

Receiving funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an independent financial organization, the 2010 Biodiversity Indicator Partnership hopes to create a set of benchmarks to assess whether protection measures are effective.

“This new partnership helps ensure that the bar is raised around the globe for accounting for biodiversity loss,” said Monique Barbut, CEO of the GEF, which includes UNEP as a partner.

“The biodiversity challenge is no less urgent a public issue than the climate change crisis; this effort helps move biodiversity to the front burner to help ignite policy makers to take informed action.”

The new indicators created by this new programme will augment ones already in existence.

For example, the Red List of Threatened Species – which is compiled by the World Conservation Union – estimates that almost one in four mammals, one in three amphibians and one in eight birds is threatened with extinction, primarily propelled by human factors, such as deforestation and pollution.

Another existing indicator examines protected areas, and shows that only 0.6 per cent of the ocean’s surface area and 1.4 per cent of coastal shelf area is protected. The sustainability of marine resources, such as fish and shellfish, as well as the livelihoods of people living in coastal regions, are impacted.

The Partnership will introduce new indicators, such as the level of protection for diversity in forests, farmlands and fisheries and the level to which humans are affected by changing biodiversity.

“It is more important than ever for the biodiversity community to elevate its discourse and to reinforce the relevance of biodiversity conservation to sustainable economic development in the 21st century,” Ms. Barbut noted.

The 2010 Biodiversity Target was established in 2002 by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which 189 States and the European Community belong.

Coming on the heels of last month’s summit of Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries in Germany where leaders committed to intensify efforts to slash biodiversity loss by 2010, “the launch of this project could not come at a better time,” said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention.

 

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