The following events were covered by IISD Reporting Services on Tuesday, 20 November 2018:
Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Toyota and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species – From Knowledge to Action for Threatened Species
Toyota and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in partnership with the Governments of Thailand and Egypt, BirdLife International and Conservation International
The side event showcased the importance of working with the private sector in mainstreaming biodiversity for people and the planet; how data is driving action and overcoming the extinction crisis; and a new web-based platform for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The event also featured the launch of the Thailand Bio-Diversity Network Alliance (B-DNA) platform and a car key handover ceremony from Toyota Motor Corporation to BirdLife International and Conservation International for the undertaking of IUCN Red List assessments, field research work and conservation activities.
Jane Smart, IUCN's Biodiversity Conservation Group, presented the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, stressing the need to expand on the knowledge of threats to species that are essential to food security and that 12-35% of 25 known wild rice species are threatened. Smart explained that knowledge could be used to trigger action for transformative change in the post-2020 biodiversity agenda. She highlighted the latest update of the IUCN Red List and explained how biodiversity assessments support updating species status information, and unveiled a new web-based platform for the Red List, uderscoring the aim of making it more user-friendly. She stressed how knowledge can be used for actions to combat species extinctions, emphasising that such actions can be increased in a post-2020 agenda to promote achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Takao Aiba, Toyota Motor Corporation, mentioned the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 aimed at establishing a future society in harmony with nature, including through the minimization and optimization of water usage and zero carbon emissions from vehicles.
Participants then viewed a short video on Thailand’s biodiversity issues and the B-DNA. Wijarn Simachaya, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand, via this video message, said the B-DNA is a multi-stakeholder platform aimed at conserving Thailand’s irreplaceable biodiversity and enhancing private sector engagement in biodiversity conservation. The network, he said, will also support achievement of the SDGs and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
Shima Taha, Ministry of Environment, Egypt, presented on her government's activities to enhance knowledge-based conservation actions. She reported that the IUCN Red List has played a key role in presenting knowledge and data on species to policymakers.
Melanie Heath, BirdLife International, discussed vulture conservation work in Africa noting that seven out of 11 old-world vulture species are endangered or critically endangered. She mentioned threats to vultures, such as: poisoning due to human-wildlife conflicts; persecution for body parts used in traditional medicine; and electrification. She reported on the adoption of the Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures by the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species in 2017. The plan, she noted, will support coordinated actions in vulture conservation. A video on saving Zimbabwe’s bird species was also shown.
Lina Barrera, Conservation International, discussed the work of her organization in the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya, where elephant species have been threatened by poaching. She reported on the approach applied by Conservation International to support: peace and security through a rapid response police unit to combat poachers; community-led tourism; and an elephant sanctuary. The sanctuary, she noted, is the first community-owned elephant sanctuary in Africa.
Alexander Shestakov, CBD Secretariat, said sound knowledge on species is key for conservation. He emphasized that the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework needs to be “100 percent science-based.” The private sector, he underscored, plays a key role in conservation due to its ability to initiate effective on-the-ground activities. He highlighted that the business community is able to lobby governments and influence consumer choices.
During the discussions, participants deliberated on societal benefits of taking actions to prevent species extinction. Barrera underscored the need to keep ecosystems healthy for societies to enjoy their services. On scaling-up of knowledge-based actions through the Red List, Shestakov called for individuals to understand how they can contribute towards preserving species from extinction. Aiba urged putting pressure on governments to collaborate with civil society.
During a car key handover ceremony, participants witnessed the handing over of ceremonial keys of Toyota vehicles to Conservation International, BirdLife Zimbabwe and BirdLife International in recognition of their conservation work.
Naoki Amako, Ministry of the Environment, Japan, said the B-DNA network has the potential to produce meaningful contributions through the involvement of academia.
Ninnart Chaithirapinyo, Chairman, Toyota Motor Thailand, said the achievements of the B-DNA will restore biodiversity for future generations and proposed a toast to launch the network.
Building Post-2020 Conservation Targets Based on What Nature Needs
Presented by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA)
This side event, moderated by Kathy MacKinnon, IUCN-WCPA, explored “what nature needs” to persist in an increasingly crowded world.
Stephen Woodley, IUCN-WCPA, presented on an IUCN-WCPA-led survey of 363 conservation scientists from 81 countries on priorities for the post-2020 biodiversity conservation targets. He stressed, in particular: an overwhelming agreement on the importance of in situ area-based conservation; the need for renewed support on “areas of importance for biodiversity”; and ecological connectivity. He also suggested that conservation networks, intact wilderness and endangered species should be considered as additional conservation targets in the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework. On considerations that should influence area-based conservation beyond 2020, he noted that data should be evidence-based and measurable. In conclusion, he emphasized the importance of systematic conservation planning using existing conservation science tools to determine area-based targets. In response to this presentation, one participant underscored the importance of conducting the survey with other stakeholders in addition to conservation biologists.
Woodley also presented key messages from a symposium titled “Safeguarding Space for Nature, Securing our Future: Developing a Post-2020 Strategy,” which took place in London in February 2018. The key messages, he noted, included: the need to focus on conservation where it will make the greatest difference; the need to blend area-based conservation with the development and climate agendas; and that safeguarding space for nature requires people everywhere living more sustainably, particularly through land-sparing rather than land-sharing.
Harvey Locke, WCPA-IUCN, stressed that a robust Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework requires “saving nature” rather than just “halting loss.” He provided a brief history of the evolution of protected area targets, beginning with Our Common Future, the 1987 Brundtland Report. Following the 2014 Promise of Sydney, he described a technical taskforce that was struck at the IUCN World Conservation Congress to build global momentum to scale up conservation using protected areas as a key conservation tool, while ensuring meaningful conservation targets for achieving the basic purpose of the CBD. He highlighted three global conditions for biodiversity conservation and restoration:
- protecting remaining biodiversity fragments and promoting ecological restoration and protection in “crowded, fertile and developed areas” of the world;
- restoring and maintaining ecological processes outside protected area networks and within “the open landscape”; and
- ensuring large, interconnected protected areas in “the wild places,” where maintaining ecological processes and indigenous knowledge is a priority.
James Watson, Wildlife Conservation Society, emphasized the need to provide science-based, verifiable, measurable and quantitative conservation targets to respond to the geographic distribution of biodiversity. He compared human health-care responses and biodiversity loss, stressing the importance of not only preventing species’ extinctions, but also reversing species declines and retaining intactness of species habitats. Beginning with a database on species richness of more than 22,000 marine species, he stressed that 26%, or 8.5 million km2, of the planet should be covered by marine protected areas to ensure long-term species protection. He also explained that with more than 28,000 terrestrial species, 40.5% of land areas should be under conservation. He stressed, however, that obligations to meet targets will vary across countries and continents, noting that “it is not going to be equitable.” In conclusion, he emphasized that: figures presented were a “bare minimum”; many more key biodiversity areas will need to be designated; more refined intactness maps will have to be developed; and greater sensitivity to climate change will be needed.
Keping Ma, Chinese Academy of Sciences, presented examples from China on aligning conservation targets with the three global conditions for biodiversity conservation and restoration. These, he noted, involved defining an “ecological space,” a “production space” and a “living space.” He stressed the importance of “red-lining” ecological protection from economic development through function-oriented zoning according to the development categories of “optimized,” “prioritized,” “restricted” and “prohibited.” To carry out this delineation, he highlighted the importance of scientific and technical support to establish what to protect, where and when.
In the ensuing discussion, participants identified, inter alia: the need for multi-functional areas for conservation; the importance of integrating conservation targets as they relate to the drivers of biodiversity loss, such as land-use patterns; that protected areas do not necessarily work well from a spatial perspective, particularly with climate change; that indigenous conservation areas may be more important for conservation than government-led protected areas; and the importance of looking at global production and consumption patterns, often driven by multinational enterprises, to understand drivers of biodiversity loss.
Harvey Locke | [email protected]
GEF Small Grants Programme Opens the Majlis-Community Space Celebrating the Work of Egyptian Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Biodiversity Conservation
Presented by UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme
This event celebrated the impact of the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP), which is implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in local communities in Egypt.
During this informal gathering, community leaders voiced their successes born from GEF-SGP initiatives and officially inaugurated the “Majlis” Community Lounge (Arabic term for community gathering place), a place where communities, civil society organizations, government officials and other stakeholders can meet, network and exchange knowledge in a relaxed environment on the sidelines of the CBD COP 14.
Yoko Watanabe, GEF-SGP, UNDP, moderated the event and welcomed COP 14 delegates to the Majlis lounge, stressing the vitality of local community engagement for successful conservation projects.
Yasmin Fouad, Minister of Environment, Egypt, shared her appreciation for the programme in her country saying that the event has been much more impactful in recent years in going “from local to global.” She noted fruitful examples in the areas of biogas and sustainable tourism, emphasizing the importance of respecting local communities’ values and beliefs in the quest for “real” sustainable solutions.
Sara Wyatt, GEF Secretariat, reiterated the importance of indigenous peoples and civil society engagement in conservation, highlighting the role of the GEF SGP in supporting transformational change.
Khalil Soliman, SGP Grantee in Egypt, noted his origins from the local community of Saint Catherine’s, South Sinai, and his membership in the Medicinal Plants Association, which supports conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants. He shared that his work on medicinal plants won the Equator Prize in 2012, the first Egyptian civil society association to win this award. He also underlined the importance of the SGP’s support to advance his work with communities in improving gender equality, energy security and education.
Zahra Ouhssain, SGP Indigenous Peoples Fellow, shared her work on climate change and gender empowerment in Morocco. As a journalist, Ouhssain said she produces and hosts several programmes. She noted that in 2016, she was awarded a prize from the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture in communications from her radio programme on the conservation of an oasis in the context of climate change. She stressed the importance of the media in raising awareness about conservation and reported on her work as coordinator of the women’s committee of the Amazigh Network for Citizenship, which fights against the discrimination of the Amazigh people in Morocco.
Ghada Ahmadein, SGP Egypt, closed the celebration thanking Minister Fouad for her presence and recalled the longstanding partnership between the GEF-SGP and Egypt. She noted that since its creation in 1992, the GEF-SGP has been providing strategic partnerships for community-based action, aimed at scalable sustainable solutions and synergies. She further shared that the GEF-SGP aims to support SGP grantees in safeguarding the environment, while also accelerating social inclusion through the active engagement of women, indigenous peoples and the youth.