Adopt, adapt and scale up best practices to protect fragile ecosystems

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Geneva, 22 May 2014

It is increasingly recognized that one of the most effective ways to protect and sustainably manage and use biodiversity is through genuine and durable partnerships for action.

“Let us commit to adopting, adapting and scaling up best practices so we can protect fragile ecosystems for the benefit of all the islanders.” Is the main message from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity, celebrated every year around the globe on 22 May.

Each year a theme is selected to draw attention to the value of biodiversity and ecosystems in order to highlight the urgent need to conserve, protect and promote sustainable use of these natural resources.

Island Biodiversity the theme for 2014, was chosen to coincide with the designation by the United Nations General Assembly, of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States.

Islands constitute less than 5% of the Earth’s landmass, but are habitat for 20% of all bird, reptile and plant species as well as harbour more than 50% of the world’s known marine biodiversity.

Yet the biodiversity of islands is at risk as a result of intense human use. According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 7 of the world’s 10 coral reef hotspots and 10 of its 34 conservation hotspots, are experiencing high extinction rates. Once thriving coral reefs are now suffering the effects of bleaching, ocean acidification, pollution and other threats.

The conservation and sustainable use of the natural resources of islands is critical to achieving the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets, remarked Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in his message to the international community.

The strategic plan for biodiversity adopted in Nagoya in 2010, sets out four main goals which aim to support countries address the underlying goals of biodiversity loss, reduce these pressures, in order to safe guard the benefits in the form of good and services that we receive from nature.

For Islands, healthy ecosystems and thriving biodiversity are vital for their economies which rely heavily on tourism and fisheries. Coral reefs alone it is estimated provide an estimated US$375 billion every year in goods and services. The TEEB for Water and Wetlands report estimated the monetary value of recreation and tourism services provided by coral reefs at up to US$ 1 million per hectare per year.

“It is consequently increasingly recognized that one of the most effective ways to protect and sustainably manage and use biodiversity for sustainable livelihoods is through genuine and durable partnerships for action.” According to the message from H.E. Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change and SIDS Issues, and Representative of the President of Seychelles to the Global Island Partnership.

He added that initiatives such as the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) is promoting public and private, civil society partnerships to action and develop solutions to address island challenges.

“We need to build on these “Bright Spots” and identify those that have the potential to be scaled and replicated as solutions to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity throughout the world,” reinforced Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary CBD.

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