#UN; #UNBiodiversity; #Biodiversity; #Ecosystems; #BiologicalDiversity; #Environment; #BiodiversityConservations
New York, Feb 25 (Canadian-Media): Because the production of everything we eat transforms the environment, the United Nations agriculture chief told a high-level UN meeting on biodiversity that careful discussions are needed to decide on the scale of acceptable transformations, UN media reports said.
Mayra Monge has dedicated much of her life to researching and planting native trees in the verdant biodiverse powerhouse of Costa Rica. Image credit: UNDP
Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told negotiators on Monday that as agriculture and food systems are “at the heart of the concept of sustainable development”, they are central to deliberations regarding the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework, which is expected to be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference in October.
“Biodiversity is fundamental for ecosystems, for human beings, and is the basis of food diversity," said Mr. Qu, opening the second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group established by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which FAO is hosting.
He spoke about the enormous challenge of feeding more than nine billion people in 2050 – in ways that assure healthy diets while not over exploiting natural resources.
“I know that the world is eagerly waiting out there for demonstrable progress towards a clear, actionable and transformative global framework on biodiversity,” said the Acting Executive Secretary of the CBD, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema.
The FAO chief signaled his hope for a "robust" outcome at the UN Biodiversity Conference that will be held in Kunming, China. The framework decided there will set the course for the next 10 years and beyond.
Leading the call Mr. Qu noted that FAO has shepherded "many milestones" of UN efforts to achieve biodiversity conservation.
He highlighted the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as well as knowledge products, such as last year's The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture.
He also pointed out that FAO provides keystone functional services, such as data collection and dissemination, standard-setting, policy consultation and capacity building – all useful in protecting biological diversity.
The FAO Director-General concluded by urging the delegations to ensure that biodiversity is an integral part of the issues discussed at the 2021 World Food Systems Summit, which will be hosted by the UN Secretary General and aims to maximize the co-benefits of a food systems approach across the entire 2030 Agenda and meet the challenges of climate change.
The CBD, which entered into force in December 1993 and currently has 196 Parties, aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
This is a ‘super year’ for the environment – a make or break year in which key international meetings, including on the Ocean (Lisbon) and a proposed ‘Nature’ summit in New York this coming September, will set the tone and agenda for environmental action in the decade ahead.
#UN; #GlobalWildlifeAgreement; #MigratorySpecies; #India
India, Feb 23 (Canadian-Media): Asian elephants, jaguars and great Indian bustards were among 10 new species added to a global wildlife agreement on Saturday, UN media reports said.
Elephants bathing in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Image credit: © Eric Ganz
The Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) concluded in Gandhinagar, India, with resolutions and decisions adopted to help conserve migratory species globally.
“With COP13, the important role of CMS in protecting nature around the world has been strongly embraced”, affirmed CMS Executive Secretary Amy.
In addition to Asian elephants, jaguars and great Indian bustards, all slated to receive the strictest protection under Appendix I, Bengal floricans, little bustards, antipodean albatrosses and oceanic white-tip sharks also made the cut.
Meanwhile urials along with smooth hammerhead and tope sharks were listed as migratory species that would benefit from enhanced international cooperation and conservation actions.
Moreover, 14 species were targeted for newly agreed upon conservation plans.
“CMS is uniquely positioned to address the conservation of migratory species and their habitats, and to contribute to reversing the trends of species and biodiversity loss worldwide”, Ms. Fraenkel said.
Platalea leucorodia, or Eurasian spoonbill, a large wading bird in the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuaries in China. Image credit: Yancheng Broadcasting Television
Maintaining and restoring ecological connectivity is a top CMS priority, especially in managing migratory species and their habitats – as evidenced by the newly adopted Gandhinagar Declaration, which was affirmed by 130 party countries.
The Declaration calls for migratory species and the concept of “ecological connectivity” to be integrated and prioritized in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which is expected to be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference in October.
Declining migratory species
The first-ever report on the Status of Migratory Species was presented at the conference.
In highlighting that the populations of most CMS-covered migratory species are declining, COP13 agreed that a more comprehensive review be undertaken to understand the status of individual species and the threats they face.
“The initial status report has been a real wake up call for the Convention, and Parties recognized, the importance of a more thorough analysis. CMS COP13 has given a clear mandate to prepare a flagship report on the status of migratory species which will give us a better idea of what is happening on the ground, and also provide a much needed tool for understanding where we need to focus our work,” the CMS chief said.
And the conference agreed on a number of cross-cutting policy measures to address threats to migratory species, such as integrating biodiversity and migratory species considerations into national energy and climate policy and promote wildlife-friendly renewable energy.
Image credits: United Nations
During the conference, the first CMS COP to be inaugurated by a host-country Head of Government, three CMS Ambassadors were named, seven Migratory Species Champions were recognized and two sets of commemorative stamps were issued.
In his opening address, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to focus on the conservation of migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway, and announced the establishment of an institutional research facility for the conservation of migratory birds and marine turtles, the reduction of pollution from micro-plastic and single-use plastic, and other things.
As COP13 host, India will assume the role of COP Presidency for the next three years. “The spirit of ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’… will now resonate from Gandhinagar into the world: Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home!”, concluded Executive Secretary Fraenkel.
#FreshwaterBiodiversity; #EmergencyRecoveryPlan; #FreshwaterEcosystems; #Freshwatermegafauna
New York, Feb 19 (Canadian-Media): With biodiversity vanishing from rivers, lakes and wetlands at alarming speed, a new scientific paper outlines an Emergency Recovery Plan to reverse the rapid decline in the world's freshwater species and habitats—and safeguard our life support systems, phys.org/news reports said.
A hippo swimming in Mana Pools wetland, Zimbabwe.
Image Credit: naturepl.com/Tony Heald/ WWF
Published today in BioScience, the Emergency Recovery Plan calls for the world to take urgent steps to tackle the threats that have led to an 83% collapse in freshwater species populations and the loss of 30% of freshwater ecosystems since 1970—ecosystems that provide us with water, food, livelihoods, and protection from floods, droughts and storms.
Developed by a global team of scientists from WWF, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International, Cardiff University and other eminent organizations and academic institutions, this is the first comprehensive plan to protect and restore freshwater habitats, which host more species per square kilometer than land or oceans—and are losing this extraordinary biodiversity two or three times faster.
The six-point plan prioritizes solutions that are rooted in cutting edge science and have already proven successful in certain locations: letting rivers flow more naturally, reducing pollution, protecting critical wetland habitats, ending overfishing and unsustainable sand mining in rivers and lakes, controlling invasive species, and safeguarding and restoring river connectivity through better planning of dams and other infrastructure.
Critically, with governments meeting in November to agree on a new global deal to conserve and restore biodiversity at a landmark conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the authors recommend some new targets, including on restoring water flows, controlling illegal and unregulated sand mining in rivers, and improving management of freshwater fisheries that feed hundreds of millions of people.
"Nowhere is the biodiversity crisis more acute than in the world's rivers, lakes and wetlands—with over a quarter of freshwater species now heading for extinction. The Emergency Recovery Plan can halt this decades-long decline and restore life to our dying freshwater ecosystems, which underpin all of our societies and economies," said Dave Tickner, WWF-UK Chief Freshwater Advisor and lead author on the paper.
Covering approximately 1% of the Earth's surface, rivers, lakes and freshwater wetlands are home to 10% of all species and more described fish species than in all the world's oceans. But they are rapidly disappearing with populations of freshwater megafauna—such as river dolphins, sturgeon, beavers, crocodiles and giant turtles—crashing by 88% in the past half century.
"The causes of the global collapse in freshwater biodiversity are no secret, yet the world has consistently failed to act, turning a blind eye to the worsening crisis even though healthy freshwater ecosystems are central to our survival. The Emergency Recovery Plan provides an ambitious roadmap to safeguarding freshwater biodiversity—and all the benefits it provides to people across the world," said co-author, Professor Steven Cooke of Carleton University in Canada.
The Emergency Recovery Plan highlights a variety of measures that together will transform the management and health of rivers, lakes and wetlands, such as treating more than 20% of sewage before it is flushed into nature, avoiding dams on the world's remaining free flowing rivers, and expanding and strengthening protected areas in partnership with local communities.
"All the solutions in the Emergency Recovery Plan have been tried and tested somewhere in the world: they are realistic, pragmatic and they work. We are calling on governments, investors, companies and communities to prioritize freshwater biodiversity—often neglected by the conservation and water management worlds. Now is the time to implement these solutions, before it is too late," said James Dalton, Director of IUCN's Global Water Programme.
"We have the last opportunity to create a world with rivers and lakes that once again teem with wildlife, and with wetlands that are healthy enough to sustain our communities and cities, but only if we stop treating them like sewers and wastelands," said Tickner. "This decade will be critical for freshwater biodiversity: countries must seize the chance to keep our life support systems running by ensuring freshwater conservation and restoration are central to a New Deal for Nature and People."
#GlobalWarmingThreatsSpecies; #BiodiversityHotspots; #ChangingClimate; #Australia'sWetTropics; #ClimateChangeMitigation
Australia, Feb 5 (Canadian-Media): Biodiversity hotspots -- like Australia’s wet tropics, the Guinean forests of Western Africa, and the Andes Mountains - - have been providing for millions of years a safe refuge to species, evolved in tropic regions from climate change, find themselves greatly threatened from human-driven global heating, said a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, media reports said.
Australia's wet tropics. Image credit: Pinterest
After modelling the global land and ocean temperatures, and rainfall for the past 21,000 years, the study examined the impact of adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere under two scenarios, one with very high emissions and another with much lower levels of emissions.
Overlapping of biodiversity rich places with places in the tropics with relatively stable climates in the past, was a safe refuge for the species when other regions have warmed, the paper explained
“We had hoped that what we would find was that these places would continue to have stable climates. But what’s extremely worrying is that we see a shift from stable to unstable,” saidAssoc Prof Damien Fordham, a global change ecologist at the University of Adelaide and a co-author of the research
He said while the study looked closely at the past 21,000 years, the areas impacted were known to have supported stable climates for millions of years in which species were able to adapt themselves within very narrow temperature and climate boundaries.
“We see this as a further reason for action on climate change, and also in considering these hotspots in our plans for climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Fordham.
Global expert on conservation management Prof Hugh Possingham, of the University of Queensland and chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy, said the study was “depressing” and said that urgent actions need be taken on picking landscape scale actions that could mitigate these predicted effects
Loss of biodiversity is just as catastrophic as climate change. The possible solution to this problem is restoration of these habitats as well as reduction of human pressures like hunting.
Prof Bill Laurance, director of James Cook University’s centre for tropical environmental and sustainability science, who was not involved in the study, said it was “the scariest paper that I’ve read in the last couple of years” adding that our global biodiversity hotspots will be intensely vulnerable to future climate change.
“These unique species are going to be repeatedly body-slammed by highly fluctuating temperatures as this century progresses, according to this study. Wildfires, killer droughts, intense storms, flooding rains, the list of calamities goes on.”
“This work is alarming but it’s akin to being warned that there’s a massive sinkhole in the highway ahead.
“We have a chance to dodge it if we start changing direction now,” said Laurance.