29 May 2013

From words to action – key organisations team up to stop the extinction crisis

Back from the brink: Mauritius Parakeet has been saved from extinction by conservation action (D. Hansen / www.mauritian-wildlife.org)
By Carolina Hazin

With unprecedented species declines and more than 20,000 of the species assessed on The IUCN Red List threatened with extinction, IUCN and other organisations, including BirdLife International, come together to support the achievement of a global biodiversity target to prevent further species loss.

The partnership – Friends of Target 12 – will offer practical advice to countries in their efforts to prevent further extinctions of threatened species and improve the conservation status of those disappearing most rapidly. This will help them achieve the so-called ‘Target 12’ – one of 20 ‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets’ adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Japan in 2010.

The initiative aims to bring together the knowledge and experience of government institutions, intergovernmental, non-governmental and community-based organizations, academic and professional networks and private sector companies working to conserve species and ensure their sustainable use.

Out of 65,518 species currently assessed by The IUCN Red List of Threatened Specie, 1,173 are Extinct or Possibly Extinct and 20,219 are considered threatened (i.e. in the categories of Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable). BirdLife provides the assessments for all birds on the Red List, and currently judges 1,313 bird species to be ‘threatened’. However, conservation action led by some of the organisations that are now joining the initiative has brought many species back from the brink of extinction. Examples involving BirdLife include Azores Bullfinch, Rarotonga Monarch and Mauritius Parakeet.

Some Friends of Target 12 partners have already made specific commitments as part of the initiative and more are soon to be announced. BirdLife is committing to contribute by regularly updating the IUCN Red List assessments of the status of all the world’s birds and the conservation actions needed to improve the prospects of threatened species, and making this information available to all CBD Parties. BirdLife will also regularly update the Red List Index for birds, in order to monitor progress towards Target 12. Most importantly, BirdLife is making substantial contributions towards achieving the target through implementing the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme, a coordinated global effort to save the most threatened bird species from extinction and improve their conservation prospects.

“Many organisations and institutions around the world are contributing to the protection of species and are supporting the implementation of Target 12”, says Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary. “This partnership brings them together and enhances the support that we can provide to CBD Parties to finally move from words to implementation of the Aichi biodiversity targets.”

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The partnership is officially supported by the CBD and currently has 21 partners.