The Chinese Forest Minister Jia Zhibang today said that China wants to support Nepal on biodiversity conservation and livelihood promotion through the forestbased products.
“We have been supporting Nepal on Bamboo plantation and its economic benefit, where as China is interested in sustainable forest management issues,” said Zhibang, while talking to the media persons at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
The high level meeting between the two countries to be held, on Thursday, will share the knowledge of biodiversity conservation and discuss the challenges for better cooperation to fight against the illegal trade of wildlife body parts and endangered plant species.
China is the largest market for the wildlife body parts as well as the illegal trade of red sandalwood and other medicinal plants that has become a headache for Nepal. “There is the need of better cooperation between two countries and China has been supportive on enhancing conservation efforts,” added the minister.
The Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation has prepared for the meeting of first Nepal-China Joint Forestry Working Group meeting which will be addressed by both countries.
“The six-member Chinese delegation will be discussing with the Nepalis participants on the issues of forestry sector.” Both sides will share on how the forest conservation efforts are going on both countries,” said Ram Prasad Lamsal, Joint Secretary and Spokesperson, MoFSC.
On Tuesday morning, we released our report Amazon.com’s Unpalatable Profits and launched our campaign to urge internet giant Amazon to remove all whale products from its wholly owned subsidiary Amazon Japan. To say the response was overwhelming is to put it mildly. Tens of thousands of people around the world took action via Twitter, Facebook, an online petition and sending protest emails to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
By the end of the day, Amazon had quietly removed all whale products from Amazon Japan.
A key aspect of EIA’s campaign was the attention-grabbing 50-second campaign film [http://www.eia-international.org.php5-20.dfw1-1.websitetestlink.com/media-resources/videos?id=31427376] we distributed to help raise awareness of the issue and spur action.
The film was viewed thousands of times and shared widely around the internet via Facebook, Twitter, blogs and news sites.
EIA Visuals Specialist Paul Redman directed and edited the campaign film, and has prepared a special video blog in which Senior Campaigner Clare Perry and Press Officer Paul Newman talk about the creation of the film, the Amazon campaign, and where it goes next.
The decision made by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government
over leasing of around 81,000 hectares (58 percent owned by locals, 35 percent
disputed area and 7 percent owned by government) of forest area for 40 years to
a UK based company has attracted public outrage. Locals claim that the deal has
been kept secret and has urged government to cancel the agreement.As per the agreement, government would
receive £12 million and 20 percent share from carbon trading. 8 February bit.ly/z17m6C
As per the initial estimate of value of ecosystem,
Bhutan’s ecosystem is worth over Nu 700 billion per year which is ten times
more than its GDP. The largest contributor is forest (93.8%) followed by
cropland (3.7%), rivers, lakes and wetlands. Of the total benefits it is
estimated that 53% were enjoyed by people outside Bhutan in the form of climate
regulation and tourism and remaining 47% accrued within the country in the form
of clean air, healthy soil, recreation and other values.
In a bid to construct national ecological garden
city, Lhasa afforested a total area of 16,667 hectares in 2011. Similarly,
Chamdo city in eastern Tibet carried out several ecological construction
projects in 2011 which includes management and protection of 1.2 million
hectares of natural forest, forest construction over 3000 hectares, vegetation
recovery in key areas, water conservation and soil conservation and
construction of nature reserves.
The carcass of an elephant was recovered near
Kaziranga National Park. Poachers have been linked behind the killing as the
trunk was missing. Meanwhile, in Himachal Pradesh state two forest guards
fighting corruption charges for 31 years have been released on bail. They were
accused of allowing illegal export of 44 pieces of timber logs. 11 February
Himachal Pradesh has built a 112 km long road by
using plastic waste, the only state in North India to use plastic for road
construction. During the construction, plastic was used in rain fed and damp
areas to increase the resistance to water. However, state ban over usage of
poly bags has affected the supply of plastic waste. 8 February bit.ly/yDtVyo
Deforestation is at its peak in community, private
and national forests in southern area of Lalitpur District, central Nepal, but
the forest authorities are taking no action despite of local complaints.
Smuggled woods are thus transported to the capital without any intervention by
security personal. Meanwhile, ban on tree felling has hit hard the lives of
Raute community, the nomadic group, in Dang District, west Nepal, as they make
their living by selling wooden utensils. 11, 12 February Kantipur
In Bajura District, west Nepal, illegal killing of
birds and animals has increased and they are sold in local eateries by the
poachers but the authorities have paid no heed to the situation. Similarly,
over the last year wildlife poaching has intensified in Khotang District, east
Nepal, as more than four dozen of porcupine and over 100 deer were reported to
have been killed. 10, 13 February Kantipur, The Himalayan Times
LONDON, UK /
WASHINGTON, DC: Internet giant Amazon.com
appears to have removed all whale products from its wholly owned Japanese
website overnight, following worldwide publicity that scores of whale products
were offered for sale.
A new campaign
launched yesterday by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Humane
Society International (HSI) revealed that Amazon Japan not only sells products
from endangered and protected whale species, but also products containing
dangerous levels of mercury.
followed the release of the EIA report Amazon.com’s Unpalatable Profits
and tens of thousands of people have taken action via Twitter, Facebook, HSI’s
online petition, and sending protest emails to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Campaigner Clare Perry said: “We welcome Amazon’s action to remove whale
products from its Japanese website but urge Amazon to confirm it will enact a
company-wide ban on the sale of all products derived from whales, dolphins or
veterinarian and Executive Director of Humane Society International UK, said:
“In just 24 hours, more than 35,000 HSI supporters have appealed to Amazon for
a total ban on the sale of whale, dolphin and porpoise products. The public
wants these animals protected rather than killed and sold for profit.”
Internet giant urged to clean house and ban all
LONDON: Internet marketplace giant Amazon.com is today called
on to stop supporting commercial whaling by immediately and permanently banning
the sale of all products from whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively
known as ’cetaceans’).
Unpalatable Profits, a new report by
the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), launched in co-operation with
Humane Society International, reveals that Amazon Japan, the wholly owned
subsidiary of Amazon Inc, sells hundreds of cetacean food products.
In December 2011,
147 whale products were found for sale on Amazon Japan. The listed products
included fin, sei, minke and Bryde’s whales, all protected by the International
Whaling Commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling and the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which forbids international
trade. Despite this, several companies were selling endangered fin whale imported
Amazon Japan was
also selling pilot whale and other whale or dolphin species from the infamous
Taiji drive hunts, highlighted in the Oscar-winning film The Cove. (Image above)
EIA has released a
hard-hitting 50-second campaign film – http://vimeo.com/31427376– urging
consumers to tell Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to stop selling whales.
Amazon is selling
threatened and endangered cetacean species that are protected by two
international treaties,” said EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry. “By allowing
vendors to sell whale products on its sites, it is effectively helping to prop
up an unsustainable trade that should have been consigned to the history books
purchased eight whale products from Amazon Japan in 2011, including canned
whale meat, whale jerky, whale bacon and whale stew. Analysis revealed six of
them to have mercury levels exceeding the Japanese national limit for mercury
in seafood of 0.4 parts per million (ppm) and one had a staggering mercury
level of 20ppm, about 50 times the safe limit.
“Amazon says ‘we're
constantly looking for ways to further reduce our environmental impact’ –
banning these harmful products is an easy way for Amazon to show genuine
commitment to this principle, while protecting its customers,” added Perry.
One-third of the
147 products were not listed with a species name, contrary to the requirements
of Japan’s labelling laws. Since many of these products originate from Taiji,
where 10 times more dolphins are killed than whales, it is likely Amazon Japan
is selling dolphin products mislabelled as ‘whale’.
veterinarian and Executive Director of Humane Society International UK, said:
“There is no humane way to kill whales, so the creatures slaughtered to produce
the food products being sold by Amazon will have endured a bloody and painful
death. Killing these remarkable giants of the sea for commercial gain is
condemned by the majority of the world’s nations. As a global brand, Amazon must
now act to protect both consumers from environmentally polluted products and
cetaceans from the cruel exploitation of commercial whaling.”
17 February 2012 – The Josephine Seamount, located in the Horse-shoe Seamount
Group of the Atlantic Ocean has been added to the prototype online repository
that scientifically describes ecologically or biologically significant marine
areas (EBSAs) (available at http://ebsa.cbd.int).
tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological
Diversity, held in Nagoya, Japan in 2010, the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD) sets out a process to identify EBSAs based upon agreed
North-East Atlantic is a leading region for pro-active deep-sea marine
conservation. In 2010 Ministers of OSPAR Commission Contracting Parties
designated the world’s first network of High Seas Marine Protected Areas in the
Wider Atlantic. In September 2011, the OSPAR Commission, together with the North-East
Atlantic Fisheries Commission, organized the first regional EBSAs workshop, in
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Josephine Seamount is the westernmost seamount of the Horse-shoe Seamount Group
and is a possible stepping-stone for species travelling between European slopes
and the slopes of oceanic islands such as Madeira and the Azores. Highly rated
for its biological productivity the Josephine Seamount is part of the Atlantic
deep-sea sub-region, where warm temperate waters support dense gorgonian corals
and habitat-forming sponge aggregations which, whilst present in high densities
are highly vulnerable and have slow recovery rates. Professor Ricardo Santos,
of the University of the Azores, who was instrumental in ensuring that
scientific information for the Josephine Seamount was available to the OSPAR
Commission, explained that: “This is the first seamount discovered as a result
of oceanic explorations in 1869, so it is extremely fitting that it becomes the
first case of scientifically describing EBSAs.”
online repository has been developed under a process managed by the Convention
on Biological Diversity with the assistance of partners such as Ocean
Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic
Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(IOC/UNESCO) and the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative.
Josephine Seamount is one of six sites that are fully protected by the OSPAR
Marine Protected Area designation, but such protection is not a prerequisite
for describing EBSAs. Professor David Johnson, Executive Secretary of the OSPAR
Commission explained that: “The scientific description of EBSAs represents a
starting point for planning where conservation and sustainable use should be
more risk-averse than in
majority of those areas identified as candidate EBSAs (areas meeting EBSA
criteria based on scientific assessment by the workshop) for the North-East
Atlantic are large areas within which States and competent intergovernmental
organisations may take enhanced conservation and management measures in accordance
with international law.
scientific description of EBSAs by the workshop, as well as the prototype
repository, will be considered by CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific Technical
and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), at sixteenth meeting, to be held from 30
April to 5 May 2012, and at the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the
Parties to the Convention, in October 2012.
Ferreira de Souza Dias, the Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological
Diversity, said: “When fully developed, the EBSA Repository will allow
scientific and technical information on areas and features of the marine
environment, as well as the experience of applying EBSA criteria, to be shared.
We welcome this important contribution by OSPAR to test the prototype system.”
this week the OSPAR Commission Biodiversity Committee welcomed the development
of the CBD Prototype EBSAs Repository, as called for by the Conference of the
Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at its tenth meeting, and
noted that scientific details of the five other OSPAR High Seas Marine
Protected Areas would also be entered in the next weeks.
A briefing on illegal and unsustainable rosewood logging, the major threat to Thailand’s limited remaining forests, which calls on the Thai Government to unilaterally list domestic rosewood species on CITES Appendix III in 2012 with a zero quota, and to work with rosewood range states to list key Asian rosewood species on CITES Appendix II at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP) to CITES in Bangkok, in March 2013.
We Canada serves as a voice for Canadians who believe
sustainable development should be a priority for their country and for the
international community. We want the government of Canada to commit to creating
a sustainable future and green economy, and to be a leader on the global stage
at the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Earth
Summit 2012, Rio+20).
We Canada is an initiative of the Canadian Earth Summit Coalition, a
self-organized, independent and informal civil society network of
non-government, non-profit, academic and research organizations, international
leaders in sustainability thinking, activists, cultural workers and individuals,
working towards Canadian leadership at the Earth Summit 2012.The Coalition
serves as a platform for sharing ideas and building strength for sustainability.
We support a diversity of viewpoints and ideas. Partners maintain their
independent programs, projects and political stances while promoting Canadian
leadership at the Earth Summit 2012 and beyond. See our list of partners. Our
not-for-profit group "bioidversitymatters" is an official partner of We
The location of the 3rd International
Youth Symposium for Biodiversity this October in Auroville, India was hit by a
terrible cyclone. Because of this sad event, the Third International Youth Symposium for Biodiversity will be cancelled at this time. We wish the very best to those affected by this storm.
Mr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias today
began his tenure as the Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD) at the Secretariat’s offices in Montreal, Canada.
Mr. Dias, a Brazilian national, brings
many years of experience in policy-making and in coordinating the implementation
of biodiversity policies, programmes and projects at the national and
international level.Deeply involved
with the negotiations and implementation of the Convention on Biological
Diversity since its beginnings, he participated as a member of the Brazilian
delegation in the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the
Previously the National Secretary for Biodiversity
and Forests at the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, Mr. Dias was directly
responsible for overseeing several multi-institution programmes and the work of
four institutions attached to the Ministry.
Mr. Dias was previously a member of the Scientific
and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility, Vice-President
of the International Union of Biological Sciences, and Coordinator of the
Steering Committee of the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network.
Trained as a scientist, he holds a
Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from the University of Brasilia,
with a Doctor of Philosophy in zoology from the University of Edinburgh. Born
in 1953, Mr. Dias is married and has one child.
Mr. Dias succeeds Ahmed Djoghlaf, who
had served as Executive Secretary since January 2006.
On assuming his post, Mr. Dias stated:
“It gives me great pleasure to succeed those that have successfully led the
Convention Secretariat since the beginning – Angela Cropper, Calestous Juma,
Hamdallah Zedan and Ahmed Djoghlaf. If you ask what my three priorities are for
the Convention, my answer is implementation, implementation and
Mr. Dias begins his tenure following the
strong success of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention, held in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010. At that historic meeting,
Governments approved a new Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 with its
twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Governments also agreed on the Nagoya
Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of
Benefits Arising from Their Utilization to the Convention on Biological
Diversity and the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and
Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
Vector borne Disease Control Programme (VDCP) report, there has been a
tremendous decrease in the cases of malaria infection in last 17 years from
40,000 in 1994 to 194 in 2011. Malaria is endemic in 7 districts of southern
Bhutan which has 42 percent of the country’s total population. 5 February
National Park, a sub-adult Royal Bengal tigress carcass was found in the drain
with its legs tied with rope. Post mortem report suggested that the beef found
in the tigress stomach was poisoned with organophosphorus chemical which
poachers used to kill the tigress. In another report, it has been revealed that
poachers are moving out of national parks and targeting stray rhinos from
Kaziranga. 5, 7 February
ministry has given a green signal to fell over 24,000 trees belonging to 42
community forests of Chitwan and Makwanpur districts, central Nepal. The
deforestation drive is for the upcoming 220 KV transmission line project of
Nepal Electricity Authority. 5 February Kantipur
rate in a community forest near Nepal-China border in Rasuwa District, central
Nepal, has eased off with timely intervention of Ministry of Home and Ministry
of Foreign affairs as the authorities has asked their Chinese counterpart to
check on the smuggled woods crossing the border. 2 February
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is an
international agreement signed by 175 governments, including one of the world’s
major markets for illegal wildlife products – China.
international trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn is forbidden under CITES
and, after a brief respite from poaching during the 1980s and ’90s, populations
of both species started to recover (some would say because of the
poaching has begun to steadily escalate once more across Africa. In 2002, over
six tonnes of illegal ivory – the single largest haul since the 1989 ban was
put in place – was seized in Singapore and marked the beginning of the
continuing, and increasing, numbers of large seizures of illegal ivory, most of
them destined for China and the Far East. South Africa, in particular, has
seen an uncontrollable wave of poaching of rhino for their horns, believed to
be the panacea for all manner of ailments (but without a shred scientific
proof) in the Far East. In 2011, South Africa lost more than 440 rhino and
the slaughter continues. This year, to date, we’re looking at one being taken
in some quarters, the argument is still being made that creating a legal trade
in rhino horn is the answer to this appalling situation.
several years of polarized discussion and debate, CITES in 2008 granted China
approved buyer status in the controversial sale of stockpiled ivory from
Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Proponents of sustainable utilization
argue that a legalized, controlled trade in specimens of naturally deceased,
managed and culled elephants can be used to flood a market and thereby lower
demand, so reducing illegal trade and easing pressure on wild populations of
aside for a moment considerations that a ‘legal’ stream of ivory and rhino horn
serves only to confuse consumers while also stimulating demand, for such a
mechanism to work there must be stringent controls in place to regulate the
trade, such as validating the source of any products, strong enforcement
against illegal trade making poaching a high risk / low return activity, and
transparent corruption-free management of market prices for legal products.
China claimed it could implement “rigorous” regulations and controls against
illegal trade and ensure no illegal ivory could enter the market.
after the stockpile sale took place, EIA investigations in 2010 and 2011
revealed that, far from flooding the market with legal ivory to reduce demand,
up to 90 per cent of ivory on sale came from illegal sources and prices of legal
ivory had increased to as much as $7,000 per kilo. In effect, the results of EIA’s
investigations show that instead of stemming the poaching by satisfying the
demand, the sale of the stockpiles has simply fuelled the demand for illegal
ivory. These findings have subsequently been supported by research and
investigations conducted by independent consultant Esmond Martin and the
International Fund for Animal Welfare.
So, in a
nutshell, the sale has only made matters worse: the demand in China remains
high and growing, spurring massive increases in the poaching of elephants. The
illegal ivory simply gets laundered onto the market under cover of the ‘legal’
rhinos, the species that has already teetered on the brink of extinction once
in the past 30 years. and is now in the throes of a new onslaught
serious rhino poaching crisis, in the 1980s and early ’90s, had a devastating
effect on rhino populations in Africa and Asia but the current crisis has an
added dimension not seen before – the involvement of organised criminal
syndicates in countries which are neither range states nor major consumer
markets. This suggests the demand for rhino horn is currently at an all-time
of talks are underway to address this situation, but the killing continues and
a country that prides itself on its wildlife resources, enforcement and
anti-poaching is at a loss. So the solution being advanced to stop the
poaching is … that’s right, to legalize trade. Unbelievable.
China’s success in gaining approved ivory buyer status at CITES, talks are now
taking place to discuss the possibility of introducing a similar mechanism for legalized
trade in rhino horn along the line of the ‘successful’ ivory model.
the legalized ivory trade has, after all, been such a roaring success – but
only for the illegal traders.
again seems to be the principal market yet it has spectacularly failed to fulfill
its promises and commitments; implementation of its ivory regulation and
control system is, at best, dismal. If China cannot implement a control
system designed specifically to address the problem (while at the same time
satisfying demand), how on Earth can it even be considered as a suitable
candidate for introducing a similar system for rhinos?
in which China has undoubtedly excelled is in winning agreement at CITES,
convincing the parties it has the capacity and will to regulate legal wildlife
trade, in particular of ivory, bears and farmed tigers, without detriment to
(c) Environmental Investigation Agency
the evidence speaks to the contrary. China has not remotely demonstrated
adequate commitment or investment in the kind of enforcement required to end
illegal trade, something which requires an intelligence-led, and inter-agency
approach to tackling organised, international criminal syndicates.
trade has demonstrably not worked for elephants. Who could be so naïve or so willfully
blind as to imagine it will work for rhinos?
Executive Director Environmental Investigation Agency
Wetlands are important to me because
they allow you to learn about different animals and wildlife. They also get you
to see nature in a way you can’t see when you look out the window.
Wetlandslet you explore nature. you can
have a lot of fun enjoying time finding species and observing wildlife.
A few years back (year of biodiversity), the Canadian Commission for UNESCO collaborated with a Montreal-based Circus (l’Arsenal) to involve students, particularly from disadvantaged schools, in a creative approach to biodiversity which culminated in their viewing of l’Arche, a circus show on the beauty and magic of biodiversity. http://www.arsenal.ca/en/news/busy-autumn-for-arsenal/
The circus troup is now confirmed to tour in the UK from Sept 20- Nov 4 and they are looking for an individual to accompany them in the tour to speak to the audience (youth target) before the show about environmental issues in order to help the audience maximize their experience and to internalize the issues presented.
We are looking for British citizens who may be interested to take part in this adventure. I can assure that it would be an unforgettable experience.
A snow leopard has been
spotted in Chitral forests after two years. According to the wildlife
department, the big cat descended to the lower altitude due to heavy snowfall
in high mountains and in search of food. Earlier, the villagers had installed
bulbs around the village to ward off snow leopard. Also leopard killing was
banned in the area but fearing its attack on livestock, the ban was lifted. 27 January http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/27/snow-leopard-reemerges-in-chitral-forests.html
For almost a decade,
farmers in South Sikkim have not been able to benefit from paddy cultivation
due to crop depredation by peacock and wild boar from Kitam bird sanctuary.
Considering this, the state forest department is all set to acquire about 1
hectare of paddy fields and convert it into bird sanctuary for which the
acquired land will act as a buffer zone. Farmers have appreciated the move as they
will be duly compensated. 30 January http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120130/jsp/siliguri/story_15067014.jsp
According to Social Welfare
Council (SWC), major chunk of donation funds are being spent on studies,
workshops, seminars, trainings and campaigns. For various developmental
projects in 2011 and 2010, the nation received NRS 3.062 billion and NRS 5.21
billion respectively but only NRS 582 million and NRS 1.1 billion were spent
for physical developments. Interestingly, as per the SWC guidelines at least
60% of the total budget should be spent on physical development. 28 January
Excessive felling of trees
by Community forest user groups in Dang District, West Nepal, and involvement
of user groups in Chure denudation in Udaypur District, East Nepal, remains
unchecked by District forest offices as the communities are backed by political
parties. Meanwhile, user committees after receiving hush money from
contractors, have allowed cutting of thousands of trees in Pyuthan District, West
Nepal. Amidst all these, Government of
Nepal received NRS 4.45 billion for multi stakeholder forestry program, the
first multi stakeholder project undertaken in Nepal’s forestry sector. 25, 26, 27 January The Kathmandu Post, The
Himalayan Times, http://www.nepalnews.com/home/index.php/news/19/16185-switzerland-finland-uk-provide-rs-445-billion-to-support-nepals-forestry-sector.html
Chure Conservation Program has come to a standstill for past four months.
Despite massive deforestation in Chure forest range, conservation program is of
less interest to the locals and as a result, this years’ budget of NRS 6.2
million has been left unspent. Following the arrest of the chairman of the
community forest, the locals have refused to support the program, whereas some
locals themselves are involved in the smuggling of timber.
With reference to notification 2012-22 of 3 February 2012 concerning the postponement of the Second meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, I wish to inform you that the meeting will be held on 2 6 July 2012 at the Vigyan Bhawan Convention Center in New Delhi, India. The capacity-building workshop on access and benefit-sharing will be held on 30 June – 1 July 2012 at the same venue.
With respect to registration for these meetings, please note that participants already registered will be automatically registered for the new dates and therefore do not need to register again. Those who had not yet registered for the meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee and the capacity-building workshop are invited to do so by 30 March 2012.
For more details on the procedure for designating representatives for the meetings, please refer to notifications 2011-233 (Parties) and 2011-232 (International organizations and relevant stakeholders), available on the Secretariat’s website: http://www.cbd.int/notifications/.
4, 2012 It can be
a long week/month/year/decade (delete as appropriate) when you’re constantly
confronted with bad news and the terrible things that we are doing to life on
this planet. It can often seem like a never-ending uphill battle. And, well,
that’s what it is, but every now and again you get some news that gives you
a glimmer of hope.
December, there has been a flurry of positive news coming from different parts
of India, home to the world’s largest remaining population of wild tigers.
Where they are being well protected, where there is a good relationship between
forest officials, scientists and NGOs, tigers are breeding and, because of
limitations on carrying capacity, tigers are spilling out of protected
areas, returning to the forests from which they once vanished and taking up
residence rather than just being transient.
cubs in Kudremukh National Park, in Karnataka, which has historically been
ravaged by iron ore mining, and of 25 tigers residing in the Sathyamangalam
forests of Tamil Nadu is further testimony to the emergence of the southern
states as tiger conservation champions.
news of cubs galore in Kanha Tiger Reserve (21-23 cubs) and Pench Tiger Reserve
(21 cubs) in Madhya Pradesh, and even in Panna Tiger Reserve where the
translocated tigers have given birth to seven cubs, suggests the battle for
the title of The Tiger State is not over yet.
north, tigers have returned to the Nandhor Valley of Uttarakhand, while Assam
is home to 143 tigers, 118 in Kaziranga National Park alone – the highest tiger
population density in the country.
sure, things are far from perfect. Dispersing and transient tigers leave the
protected areas to face forests destroyed for coal, diamonds, sandstone, iron
ore and bauxite. Roads, dams and river-linking projects carve up the forest
corridors. With forest loss comes the decline in natural prey and the
inevitable slide into conflict with people and livestock. Poaching in India the
feed the illegal trade in China continues. So far this year, there have been
four tiger and nine leopard poaching/trade incidents reported. None of us
can take our foot off the gas when it comes to saving tigers.
the good news from India tells us is that the tiger’s decline is not an
irreversible situation; that with the right set of circumstances, tiger
populations can recover, and with
them the watershed forests that all our futures depend on. Now is the time to
invest in progressing the strategies that are paying dividends (cubs), to
spread the word of what works and what doesn’t, to open up the system of
governance so that independent scientists, NGOs and civil society can work with
the government officials.
Today we celebrate World Wetlands Day to raise awareness of these extremely valuable ecosystems that continue to be among the most threatened. We now recognize that wetlands provide many benefits to people, including that wetlands and their wildlife are a key part of the global tourism and cultural travel experience. From the stark beauty of Arctic lakes to breath-taking experiences of coral reefs, wetlands provide magnificent landscapes that tourists can appreciate. Behind the beautiful vistas and scenes, wetlands also underpin many services that tourists need, such as the availability of clean water, the recycling of wastes and protection from extreme weather events.
Tourism represents both a threat and an opportunity to wetlands. Unsustainable tourism has been called a “devourer of landscapes” for the extensive changes it causes in land use and to local economies and cultures. At the same time, if planned and implemented according to best practices, it can provide political and financial support for conservation and sustainable (or wise) use of wetlands and related ecosystem services.
Sustainable tourism means putting the principles of sustainable development into practice by ensuring that tourism protects the environment, conserves biodiversity, respects local communities and their cultural heritage and values, and provides equitable socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders, including by contributing to poverty alleviation.
With the ambitious goal (defined through Aichi target 11) of achieving by 2020, through ecologically representative systems of protected areas, the effective conservation of 17 per cent of the world’s terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of marine and coastal areas (many of which are wetlands), and with tourism already being the largest global market-based contributor to park agencies’ budgets, tourism is slated to play a larger role in the implementation of both the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Convention.
In the United States of America, for example, in 2006 more than 31 per cent of adults fed, photographed and observed wildlife, spending US$ 45 billion in the process; 1.5 million waterfowl hunters have funded conservation projects and generated a total of US$ 50 billion annually in economic activity; more than 35 million Americans take part in recreational fishing, almost all of it in wetlands, spending more than US $37 billion each year. The benefits of wetland tourism are not limited to rural or remote areas: some 200,000 visitors per year enjoy the 40-hectare London Wetland Centre alongside the River Thames, right in the heart of one of the world’s major cities. In developing countries, wetlands tourism is equally important: emblematic examples include the Okavango Delta in Botswana, the African Great Lakes, the Pantanal/Chaco region in Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay (the world’s largest Ramsar site), the Tonle Sap in Cambodia – one of Asia's largest freshwater lakes, and most coral reefs. Tourism of some sort is invariably associated with most wetlands, large to small, and in most rural and urban areas throughout the world.
In 2010, the number of international tourists reached 940 million, and this is forecast to grow to around 1.6 billion by 2020. This economic activity generated by travel and tourism, also associated with wetlands, represents around 5 per cent of global GDP and up to one in every eight of the world’s jobs. International tourism expenditure linked to wetlands can be estimated at around US$ 925 billion each year, and this does not include the vast numbers of domestic tourists (thought to represent up to seven times the volume of international arrivals) or visitors who do not stay overnight. Economic values of wetlands for tourism are therefore huge.
Sustainable wetlands tourism is about effective partnerships at all levels. Efforts towards this will be enhanced through guidance to be discussed at the eleventh meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands to be held in Bucharest from 6 to 13 July 2012. The Convention on Biological Diversity, through our joint work programme with the Ramsar 3 Convention, is pleased to have contributed to this process through its own general guidance on biodiversity and tourism. The efforts of the Ramsar Convention will also be enhanced through its recent memorandum of understanding with the United Nations World Tourism Organization and both of these are among 27 international agencies, organizations and conventions that signed up to cooperate on the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, in November 2011 in Montreal.
Sustainable tourism can bring strong political attention and economic opportunities to securing wetland wise use and the maintenance of key socio-economic wetland values, both in Ramsar Sites and in other wetlands globally. We join the world community in celebrating today in recognition of the importance of wetlands and tourism and commit to continuing our partnership efforts to achieve sustainability and find the future we want.