Biodiversity is life

11 January 2010 | Event

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, and people all over the world are working to safeguard our irreplaceable natural wealth and reduce biodiversity loss. This is vital for current and future human wellbeing. We need to do more. Now is the time to act.

Biodiversity conservation is central to IUCN's work in Asia. IUCN, its Members, Commissions and Partners spearhead innovative and challenging initiatives such as Mangroves for the Future, the Mekong Region Water Dialogues, the Livelihoods and Landscape Strategy, and the Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalaya initiative. IUCN's Red List, a powerful biodiversity monitoring tool, is a global contribution to the region. In addition to the global Red List, a number of Asian countries have developed their own National Red Lists.  IUCN is proud to provide continued support to governments on these and other conservation actions.

To mark the beginning of the International Year of Biodiversity, we present a few examples of our work to conserve the biodiversity of life that is so critical for health and long-term sustainability of this vibrant region.

Achieving Convention on Biological Diversity targets in Lao PDR
IUCN Lao is working to strengthen the Lao delegation at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP 10 in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010. Drawing on a capacity assessment, participants to the Lao COP 10 delegation will be selected and provided with training and preparation for the international meeting. Lao’s past, current and future conservation targets will be identified and analyzed.

Securing tenure for communities in Indonesia
In Indonesia, critical decisions about forest management and oil palm conversions have largely ignored local tenure claims. The IUCN Livelihoods and Landscapes initiative is working with stakeholders to secure appropriate recognition of local forest tenure, implement community managed timber certification with links to markets, and provide a platform for the participation of local stakeholders in planning, regulating and managing provincial land use.

Promoting corporate environmental responsibility in India
IUCN works with Dhamra Port Company Limited to mitigate the impact of port development on the olive ridley turtles of Orissa and to develop an environmental management plan for the port. The partnership promotes much needed positive industry-conservation relationships and has the potential to contribute significantly to environmental standards for new mega-development projects in India and elsewhere.

Enhancing biodiversity in the Juniper forests of Pakistan
To conserve biodiversity and increase the Juniper forest ecosystems contribution to sustainable development, IUCN Pakistan is working to improve the condition of the forests and initiate production activities that promote biodiversity. In addition, opportunities for biodiversity benefits from sustainable tourism, controlled hunting and watershed and ecosystem services are being identified.

Conserving medicinal plants for better health in Bangladesh
In a remote area of south-east of Bangladesh, IUCN Bangladesh is assisting the revival of traditional health practices in ethnic communities. This project is promoting awareness and conservation of medicinal plants among local communities and in turn, creating opportunities for improved livelihoods.

Saving sea turtles in Viet Nam
In Viet Nam, IUCN and partners are working to support the implementation of the Viet Nam Marine Turtle Conservation Action Plan 2010. The programme promotes community-based conservation of marine turtles and their habitat, works to reduce illegal trade in marine turtles, mitigates unsustainable fishing practices, and supports implementation of national, regional and international agreements on sea turtle conservation.

Elephant foster parents in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, three elephants are killed every week as a result of human-elephant conflict, leaving behind defenseless orphans. To address this, the Department of Wild Life Conservation has launched a novel foster parent scheme, where contributions from donors are used to shelter helpless young elephants in a transit home until they have regained their health and reached an age appropriate to be released into the wild.

Communities in Thailand monitor and manage biodiversity
IUCN supports communities on the north Andaman coast of Thailand to monitor their biodiversity. Through this process, communities have been assessing seagrass ecosystems, rainforests, and freshwater ecosystems. On the island of Thung Nam Dam, the local conservation group has identified about 30 species of orchids. These activities have resulted in local communities developing action plans for conservation of these species.

Ensuring sustainable trade between Asia and Africa
IUCN China is building multistakeholder coalitions linking China and West and Central Africa in support of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade initiatives. Through this initiative China, as a key consumer of Central and West African forest products, is engaged in discussions about forest governance in Africa to combat the trade of timber and timber products from illegal sources.

The path ahead - 2010 and beyond
It is time to act with more passion and rigor if we are to halt the loss of our world’s biodiversity and restore the populations, habitats and ecological cycles that enable ecosystem services to flourish. In October this year, the Convention of Biological Diversity 10th Conference of Parties will take place in Nagoya, Japan. Setting up post 2010 biodiversity conservation targets will be a major area of focus at the conference. IUCN is and will continue to work with Members, Commissions and partners to contribute to the post-2010 framework

IUCN Asia welcomes the International Year of Biodiversity and looks forward to working closely with its Members, Commissions and many partners to conserve life in our communities, landscapes and regions. We particularly look forward the supporting Asia’s critical work at the Convention of Biological Diversity in Nagoya and the many events leading up to it.

Contact IUCN Asia at: ASIA-communications@iucn.org


Bengal Tiger being Released into the wild from a boat in the Sundarbans