European Newsletter
December 2012
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Dear Members, dear readers,

At 64 years of age, and in the midst of global economic and environmental crises, IUCN wants more than ever to be at the forefront of natural solutions for our future and well-being. In Europe, like everywhere else in the world, IUCN is the leading authority on conserving nature and natural resources for people’s livelihoods, setting standards and fostering policies.


To fulfill its mission and role, IUCN needs to be efficient in its use of resources. In light of recent decreases in funding for biodiversity worldwide, I have had to review our operations and restructure some of our units to make the best use of the resources available.

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Julia Marton-Lefèvre

Europe overseas: Valuable, vulnerable and vital

A tropical beach with palm trees in Europe? A frozen land which goes as far as the eye can see? Yes, this is Europe! Found in every ocean, from polar to tropical latitudes, Europe overseas are entities of the European Union and home to a unique diversity of species and ecosystems.

There are 34 overseas territories in the European Union which, although geographically located outside Europe’s mainland, are linked to six EU Member States. The diversity of their ecosystems and species astounding: 70% of the EU’s biodiversity. Yet, this biodiversity is highly vulnerable to human impacts and increasingly to the impacts of climate change. IUCN is active in protecting this natural wealth.

> Read more
> Photo gallery
Europe Overseas

INTERVIEW: IUCN’s efforts to protect Europe overseas

Carole Martinez is the new Coordinator of the IUCN EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories Programme.


Q: Carole, Europe overseas are too often forgotten when we talk about European biodiversity. Yet, 70 % of biodiversity in the European Union is actually hosted by the overseas entities. Why is it so important to conserve biodiversity in overseas?

Protecting Europe’s overseas means protecting an important part of the world’s biodiversity. In the Pacific, the Caribbean region, the Indian Ocean, Europe overseas are part of the internationally recognized “biodiversity hotspots”. Their richness is extraordinary...

> Read more
> IUCN Programme on Europe overseas
Carole Martinez

Marine biodiversity conservation in Europe overseas

Many of the 30+ overseas territories of the European Union are islands and much of their biodiversity occurs in the seas and the oceans surrounding them. A recent workshop under the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development” organized jointly with IUCN addressed the challenges of Europe overseas in protecting their marine biodiversity. Armando Astudillo Gonzalez, Adviser at the European Commission...

> Read more
> EP Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development

Islands show the way to conserve nature

A range of new and significant commitments to conserve nature in Europe’s overseas islands and regions were announced at Island Innovations, a dynamic high level event held during the UN Conference on Biodiversity (CBD COP11), in Hyderabad, India. Those include the continuous support of the European Parliament to the EU's BEST Preparatory Action and the British Virgin Islands’ involvement in the Caribbean Challenge Initiative.

> Read more
> Interview with IUCN expert at CBD COP11
Jost van Dyke Island, British Virgin Islands

Good news from the Caribbean

Nine protected areas in the European overseas territories in the Caribbean have been listed since 2010 under the SPAW (Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife) Protocol of the Cartegena Convention. The SPAW Protocol is the only legally-binding international agreement on biodiversity in the Wider Caribbean, and a key mechanism for strengthening cooperation and increasing consideration of ecological connectivity within the Wider Caribbean.


Since 2010, 16 protected areas in the Wider Caribbean have been listed in the Protocol. Among these, more than half belong to European overseas territories: six in the French Antilles and French Guiana, and three in the Dutch Caribbean islands. 

> Read more
Ceremony after the approval of the listing of the 16 PAs : Delegations of the Netherlands (left) and France (right) receiving their diplomas from the SPAW Secretariat coordinator

Grand Cayman Blue Iguana takes step back from extinction

In 2002, there were only about 10 to 25 Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas (Cyclura lewisi) in the wild. Today, due to the conservation efforts of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, the wild population of the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana has risen to an estimated 750 individuals. The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme involves habitat protection; captive breeding and release; research and monitoring; as well as education and outreach, and is an example of how conservation can work successfully.

The announcement comes with the latest update to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ released by IUCN.

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Gorgeous George - a Grand Cayman Blue Iguana

Building a vision for Pacific Islands

The Pacific Oceanscape, proposed in 2009 by the Hon. Anote Tong, Prime Minister of Kiribati, and endorsed by Pacific Island leaders in 2010, fosters cooperation on ocean conservation. It provides a strong vision for conservation and sustainable management of the Pacific’s wealth of marine resources. The Pacific Oceanscape envisions a secure future for Pacific Island states based on a number of objectives: Integrated Ocean Management; Adaptation to environmental and climate change; and Liaising, listening, learning and leading.

> Read more
> Pacific Oceanscape
Lifou Island

The wonders of New Caledonia

New Caledonia is a global biodiversity hotspot – the smallest single hotspot in the world. It is home to extremely rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and has one of the highest observed rates of endemism in the world for terrestrial flora. New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the Pacific, was in the spotlight in the European Country Focus in September 2012.

> Read more
> Country Focus New Caledonia
The Lagoons of New Caledonia, France

Beyond mainland: UK Overseas Territories

The United Kingdom’s 14 Overseas Territories are incredibly diverse; they include thousands of small islands, vast areas of ocean, but also land, in Antarctica, which is six times the size of the UK. Although primary responsibility for biodiversity conservation and wider environmental management in the Territories has been devolved to their own governments, the UK government retains some responsibility for external relations and international treaties. The UK Biodiversity Framework which is designed to give a common frame to the UK countries’ strategies applies also to its Overseas Territories.

> Read more
> Country Focus United Kingdom
Caribbean diving

Georgia – a haven for biodiversity

Did you know that Georgia is listed in two of the world’s 34 “biodiversity hotspots"? Located on the Southern slopes of the Great Caucasus Mountain Range, Georgia hosts many endemic species. IUCN and its Members are active in the country and the Caucasus region to protect this rich natural heritage. Georgia is listed in two “biodiversity hotspots”. Read more in the latest Country Focus.

> Read more
> Country Focus - Slovakia
Kazbegi Mountain

Diverse but united: the EU at international negotiations

Negotiating Over the last decades, the EU has profiled itself as a frontrunner in environmental policy. On the global scene, the EU has taken a leading position and put sustainability high on the agenda, despite the worldwide economic situation...
> Read IUCN's EU Update


Natural Solutions for urban areas in Europe

Grass in Padua, Italy Organised jointly by two European Parliament Intergroups “Urban” and “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development,” the event “Natural Solutions for Urban Areas in Europe” provided an overview of European initiatives aimed at the protection and restoration of biodiversity and natural ecosystems and services in urban areas.
> Read more


The Role of Protected Areas in Regard to Climate Change

The Role of Protected Areas in Regard to Climate 
Change This scoping study by IUCN Caucasus Cooperation Centre aims to better identify the role of protected areas in climate change action and show concrete opportunities for natural, cost-effective solutions to climate change in Georgia.
> Read more


Initiating effective transboundary conservation: A practitioner’s guideline based on the experience from the Dinaric Arc

Initiating effective transboundary conservation_cover This new publication by IUCN shows how transboundary conservation action in South-East Europe’s Dinaric Arc helps protect the region’s rich biodiversity and introduces an innovative tool which helps develop cross-border partnerships.
> Read more


A changing Mediterranean coastal marine environment under predicted climate-change scenarios

La Méditerranée : un environnement marin côtier en mutation selon les scénarios sur l’évolution du climat A manager’s guide to understanding and addressing climate change impacts in marine protected areas.
> Read more


Business and the EU Biodiversity Strategy

B@B The private sector has a crucial role to play in helping conserve biodiversity in the European Union. As major users of natural resources, businesses can have a large positive impact on the environment.
> Read more
> European Parliament Gypsum Forum, 13 November 2012


Belgian Member runs for European Landscape Award 2013

Hoge Kempen National Park, Belgium The Flemish Minister for Heritage Geert Bourgeois has announced the Hoge Kempen National Park – a project of IUCN Member, the “Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland” (RLKM) – to become the Belgian candidate for the European Landscape Award in 2013.
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CHF9 million partnership for nature conservation

 Poul Engberg-Pedersen and  Michel Mordasini, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and IUCN signed a four-year Framework Agreement to support IUCN’s newly-adopted Programme 2013-2016.
> Read more


Competition for Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park logo reopened!

Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park, Albania Are you passionate about nature? Are you creative and good with graphic software? IUCN has launched a competition with a prize of 500 Euros for the creation of a logo for a Shebenik-Jabllanicë national park in Albania.  
> Read more


IUCN Director General receives Hungarian Pro Natura Award

IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre receives the Hungarian Pro Natura Award IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre has been awarded the Hungarian Pro Natura Award for her efforts to protect the environment and promote sustainable development.
> Read more


WILD10 The 10th World Wilderness Congress will take place in Salamanca, Spain from 4 to 10 October 2013. Read the first Newsletter here.
> WILD10


Director of IUCN Brussels Office

IUCN logo The Director of the IUCN Brussels Office represents the IUCN Secretariat and provides leadership and guidance for all activities undertaken by the Secretariat within the EU context in Brussels.  
> Read more


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IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) © 2012

IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN’s work focuses on valuing and conserving nature, ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development. IUCN’s European region covers the European continent, North and Central Asia, and includes the European Union overseas entities. Representing one third of the global membership, this is IUCN’s largest programmatic region.

Photo credits: Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN; Europe overseas photo gallery, IUCN; Carole Martinez, Carole Martinez; Jost van Dyke Island, British Virgin Islands, Matt Ohara; The Lagoons of New Caledonia, France, Dan Laffoley/ IUCN; A male Grand Cayman Blue Iguana (Cyclura lewisi) at his peak, John Binns; Guadalupe, fs999/Flickr; Ceremony after the approval of the listing of the 16 PAs : Delegations of the Netherlands and France receiving their diplomas from the SPAW Secretariat coordinator, SPAW; Caribbean diving, Claudio Contreras/ WWF; Lifou Island, eGuide Travel/Flickr; Kazbegi Mountain, Anja Wittich/ IUCN; Negotiating,; Grass in Padua, Italy, cesc21/Flickr; B@B logo, IUCN; Michel Mordasini and Poul Engberg-Pedersen, Lucy Deram-Rollason; Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park, Albania, IUCN/T.Pezold; IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre receives the Hungarian Pro Natura Award, IUCN; WILD10 logo, WILD10.