30 Sep 2010

Time to hit the biodiversity target – BirdLife’s September 2010 Round Up

By Nick Askew
Eight years ago World leaders committed themselves to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) target to achieve a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth by 2010. Recent analyses have clearly shown that they have failed to deliver on these commitments - instead overseeing alarming and continued declines. Next month they are meeting in Japan to discuss a new target. This is a vitally important milestone for the future of wildlife on our shared planet. We’ll be covering the news from the event, however looking back at September’s stories we already have some powerful messages for governments to consider: Biodiversity conservation must be valued as a means of achieving sustainable development From government policy to personal choices, we must recognise the value of biodiversity - BirdLife International experts are among a group of leading conservation scientists and practitioners calling for a fundamental shift in the way we view biodiversity. Building a future on IBA conservation in the Dominican Republic - Grupo Jaragua (BirdLife in the Dominican Republic) are working alongside local people to protect and value their natural resources, by getting them involved in conservation planning, environmental awareness activities and the implementation of alternatives for sustainable development. Fijian villages shown new ways for forest management- Nature Fiji and BirdLife International are working with landowners in Vanua Levu (Fiji) to work towards sustainable forest use. Governments must honour their biodiversity commitments Is Germany going to keep its word? A broad alliance of German churches, development and environmental NGOs, including NABU (BirdLife in Germany), asked the German Federal Parliament to honour Germany’s commitments towards biodiversity funding. Maltese hunters have spoonbills in their sights - Malta has been shamed yet again by its illegal bird hunters who have blasted a number of Spoonbills this month. “It is about time that the government accepts the situation for what it is – a serious international conservation problem”, said BirdLife Malta (BirdLife Partner). Conservation action makes a big difference Conservation breakthrough in Botswana - The Botswana Government has recently gazetted a Lesser Flamingo sanctuary to provide formal protection of the Makgadikgadi Pans. This has been applauded by BirdLife Botswana (BirdLife Partner) who are helping to draft regulations for the new sanctuary. Cousin Island Special Reserve, Carbon Neutral - Cousin Island has become the World’s 1st carbon neutral nature reserve. Nature Seychelles (BirdLife Partner) runs the Reserve and revealed the new status at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Tourism Expo. Largest seabird event ever aims high - In his opening address at the first World Seabird Conference, HRH The Prince of Wales highlighted the work of BirdLife's Albatross Task Force which works alongside fishermen to reduce the toll on seabirds killed by fishing gears. Monitoring is essential to measuring progress, and reacting to changes Major population crash of Critically Endangered Taita Apalis - Taita Apalis is endemic to the Taita Hills, in south-eastern Kenya. Field work carried out in 2009 and 2010 with support from BirdLife International, RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), CEPA and Chester Zoo strongly suggests that a major population crash is underway. Research shows 550 sun bears in Harapan Rainforest - The Harapan Rainforest initiative (including BirdLife International) have just completed their first Malayan Sun Bear research project with great results. The sun bear is the smallest bear in the world and one of the globally threatened mammals found in Harapan Rainforest. Record numbers of White-shouldered Ibis counted - A record-breaking 429 White-shouldered Ibis been recorded in Cambodia by a survey team including BirdLife International in Indochina. This makes the known global population much larger than previously thought and the chances of conservation success are greatly improved – welcome news for this Critically Endangered bird species. Bahamas National Trust examines seabirds major nesting areas after the oil spill - The Bahamas National Trust (BirdLife in the Bahamas) began surveys of seabirds colonies in the Western and SW Bahamas – Cay Sal Bank area to measure possible oil spill impact. Human wellbeing is dependent on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Damage to ecosystems like forests, wetlands, coral reefs, grasslands endangers biodiversity and human existence alike. Nearly 100 staff from 29 BirdLife Partners will be in Japan to ensure that the new biodiversity target which is adopted brings about the fundamental change that is so urgently required by birds, people and the planet. We know the time for governments to act is now. We know it’s time governments finally hit their biodiversity targets... Image credit: Eran Sandler / Flickr