As is typically the case with major international conservation meetings, each day of the CBD Conference in Nagoya, Japan, featured a whirlwind of announcements on new policies, publications, and other initiatives. Here are some announcements of interest to the MPA community:
Nagoya Oceans Statement
"Oceans Day" at the Nagoya meeting brought together 150 participants from 35 countries for a series of marine-themed presentations and events. Organizers of the day's activities drafted the "Nagoya Oceans Statement", which called on governments participating in the CBD meeting to consider multiple actions to protect ocean biodiversity. Among these was a call for a new process of setting marine biodiversity targets at the next CBD Conference of the Parties (in 2012) and the next UN Conference on Sustainable Development (also 2012). The statement, which is not an official agreement of the CBD, is at http://globaloceans.org/sites/udel.edu.globaloceans/files/Nagoya_Oceans_Statement.pdf.
UNEP assessment of global marine biodiversity
The UNEP Regional Seas Programme released a report featuring a global assessment and forecast of marine biodiversity. The report's outlook is grim: it predicts that by 2050, ocean productivity will have decreased in nearly all areas, with parallel declines in fish catches. Meanwhile climate change and rising sea surface temperatures will have significant negative implications for coral reefs and other temperature-sensitive marine organisms. To address these and other threats, governments will need to engage in cross-sector and transboundary ecosystem-based management, according to the report. The Global Synthesis Report is available at www.marinebiodiversityseries.org.
Costa Rica and US announce debt-for-nature swap that includes coastal protected areas
Coastal mangrove swamps and other protected habitats in Costa Rica will benefit from a debt-for-nature swap between the country's government and the US. Under the mechanism, US $27 million in debt that Costa Rica owed to the US government will instead be paid into a special fund to support tropical forest protection in the Central American country. The Nature Conservancy is also contributing $3.9 million to the fund. Among the Costa Rican protected areas to benefit is the Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands, a RAMSAR site that includes extensive mangrove swamps. An article on the swap, with links to press releases from the Costa Rican and US governments, is at http://bit.ly/Costa_Rica_US.
Spain and UNEP partner to support protected areas
The government of Spain announced a donation to UNEP of US $6.8 million to support projects aimed at linking protected areas and poverty reduction in developing nations. Arranged under the UNEP LifeWeb Initiative, the donation will finance projects involving multiple terrestrial and marine protected areas, including MPAs in West Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. A UNEP press release is at http://bit.ly/LifeWeb.
Booklet on marine Important Bird Areas
BirdLife International, an NGO, released a booklet that summarizes methods used to identify Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the marine environment and how these areas can contribute to the improvement of MPA coverage. The booklet Marine Important Bird Areas: Priority for the Conservation of Biodiversity outlines how seabirds use the marine environment in different ways, including for collecting food, for moulting, or for resting during migration. BirdLife International has identified more than 2000 candidate marine IBAs, from 158 countries and territories. The booklet is available at http://bit.ly/marine_IBAs.
Book on how to finance biodiversity and ecosystem services
A new publication titled The Little Biodiversity Finance Book highlights many ways for policy makers to generate funding to support biodiversity and ecosystem services. The authors, Charlie Parker of the Global Canopy Programme and Matthew Cranford of the London School of Economics, advise readers to embrace Proactive Investment in Natural Capital - or "Think PINC," as they say. They walk readers through dozens of options for generating financing, delivering the financing to the people who need it (resource managers, fishers, local communities), and governing the financing via institutional arrangements. "Inside this book you will find the seeds of a new economy," states the book. "This new economy could see the emergence of 'biodiversity superpowers' rich in natural capital and able to bargain their ecological muscle for aid or trade." The book is available for free at http://bit.ly/financebook.
Awards for Seaflower MPA, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Two MPAs were recognized in Nagoya with high-profile awards for conservation:
- Coralina, a regional Colombian government agency that manages the 65,000-km2 Seaflower Marine Protected Area in Colombia's San Andres Archipelago, received the Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Award from IUCN. The award cited Coralina's biodiversity protection successes with the Seaflower MPA. More information on the award and Coralina are at http://bit.ly/Coralina.
- The law that established the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (the Australian Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act of 1975) received the Future Policy Silver Award 2010 from the World Future Council. The council is a charitable foundation that encourages long-term policies that promote sustainable living. More information on the award and the Great Barrier Reef law are at www.worldfuturecouncil.org/3474.html.