Posted on 03 September 2016
11 leading conservation groups unite to protect Key Biodiversity Areas
Eleven of the world’s leading conservation organisations announced an ambitious new partnership at the IUCN World Conservation Congress to identify, map, monitor and conserve Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) –
places that include vital habitats for threatened species – with more than US$15 million committed over the next five years.
Through the KBA Partnership, resources and expertise will be mobilised to further identify and map Key Biodiversity Areas worldwide. Monitoring of these sites will enable detection of potential threats and identification of appropriate conservation actions. The Partnership will also advise national governments in expanding their protected areas network, and will work with private companies to ensure they minimize and mitigate their impact on nature.
“This is a vitally important initiative for our planet’s biodiversity,” says Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. “This partnership will enhance global conservation efforts by highlighting internationally important sites in need of urgent conservation action. It will also help us reach the targets in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and allow national governments and conservation organisations to ensure that scarce resources are directed to the most important places for nature.”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has engaged with hundreds of experts and decision-makers to develop a Global Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas. The Standard will also be launched during the World Conservation Congress, on Monday 5 September.
“All life on Earth, including us, depends on a healthy planet, yet biodiversity is falling sharply: in less than two generations, vertebrate populations worldwide have declined by half,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. “By working together to identify and conserve the world’s most vital natural places, we can benefit both people and nature. KBAs will offer an invaluable tool for good planning and development, ensuring respect for the natural infrastructure that supports our society, economy and wellbeing.”
In particular, knowledge about Key Biodiversity Areas will contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – on the conservation and sustainable use the oceans - and Goal 15 – to manage forests, combat desertification, and halt land degradation.
The KBA Partnership builds on the partners’ established track record in site identification, monitoring and conservation. Over the past four decades, BirdLife International has identified more than 13,000 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) on land and at sea in every region of the world through its 120 national partners and others, while the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund has supported the identification of 6,000 Key Biodiversity Areas within global biodiversity hotspots.
To date, more than 18,000 global and regional Key Biodiversity Areas have been identified and mapped. These include Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia – where the last known population of the Critically Endangered Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus
) lives – and the Molokai Island marine area in Hawaii – home to the Critically Endangered coral Porites pukoensis
, known only to occur in the shallow waters of this site.
The new Partnership will unite these efforts under a single KBA umbrella. It will expand the KBA network to cover other species and ecosystems using the global KBA standard. These data will guide decision-makers on areas that require safeguarding and will help a range of end users to define their conservation priorities, achieve their international commitments, and comply with their environmental policies.
KBA Partners are the Amphibian Survival Alliance, BirdLife International, Conservation International, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Global Environment Facility, Global Wildlife Conservation, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), NatureServe, RSPB, Wildlife Conservation Society and WWF