UN uses BirdLife's IBAs as key indicator
The newly published 2010 UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report profiles one of BirdLife International's key indicators for the first time – the degree of protection of Important Bird Areas (IBAs). The report presents the yearly assessment of global progress towards the MDGs, using indicators like the proportion of children that are under-nourished, the incidence of malaria and access to clean drinking water. The report warns that while some overall progress has been made, it is uneven. And it pinpoints the areas where the accelerated efforts are needed to meet MDGs by 2015.
Goal 7 is to ensure environmental sustainability, and the report uses IBAs to assess the degree to which key habitats for threatened species are adequately protected. It recognises that IBAs are critical sites for the conservation of the world's birds and other biodiversity, and that protecting all of these areas would significantly contribute to the Convention on Biological Diversity's target to safeguard areas of biological importance. However, at present, more than two thirds of these sites are unprotected or only partially protected.
"This shows the power of our data and the concept of IBAs, the value of our science-based approach to conservation and the impact of the local presence of BirdLife", said Dr Marco Lambertini, BirdLife's Chief Executive.
The IUCN Red List Index, which BirdLife pioneered, also features. Based on BirdLife's and IUCN's Red List assessments of birds and mammals, it shows that more species are being driven towards extinction than are improving in status. Mammals are even more threatened than birds. And for both groups, species in the developing regions are more threatened and deteriorating as fast as or faster than, species in the developed regions.
"The UN report recognises the critical role that BirdLife’s data can play in focusing action and tracking progress towards environmental sustainability", said Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife's Global Research and Indicators Coordinator. "It is a tribute to the dedicated efforts of the BirdLife Partnership and others in gathering and analysing information on the world’s birds and the key sites for their conservation."
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations said of the MDGs, "Falling short would multiply the dangers of our world – from instability to epidemic diseases to environmental degradation. But achieving the goals will put us on a fast track to a world that is more stable, more just, and more secure."