10 October 2008

Best of Barcelona: IUCN World Conservation Congress

8,000 passionate people discuss biodiversity: updates (some scary), new ideas and new solutions.

More than 8,000 of the world’s leading decision makers in sustainable development were together in one place for 10 days at IUCN World Conservation Congress, Barcelona, 5-14 October 2008.

Here some of the best of the marine, wetlands and shore issues raised during the event, from the IUCN website.
Is marine geo-engineering a solution to climate change?
Climate change is destroying ecosystems and desolating communities dependent upon them. Should we now be seeking to reverse this trend through intentional large-scale manipulation of the marine environment?

Mangroves: the best protection against extreme weather on coasts
Extreme weather such as the terrible Tsunami of 2004 is becoming more frequent due to climate change. As many coastal communities in Asia know only too well, mangroves are often our best line of defence.

What is the real state of our oceans?
The Swiss based Antinea foundation embarks on a ten year expedition to asses the state of our seas.

High seas gems in the spotlight
Today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, a joint initiative has been launched to highlight special places in the least protected place on Earth: the high seas. The centerpiece of which is a brochure showcasing 10 “gems” of the high seas.

Urgent action needed to protect European and oceanic sharks
Despite their fierce image as toothy monsters of the deep, sharks are more threatened than threatening these days. Worldwide, 21 percent are classified as threatened, according to the latest assessment of the IUCN Red List. …

Exploring the oceans…..from your desktop
A new layer of Google Earth Outreach will bring marine conservation to millions of people around the world through their computers. Andrew Hurd of IUCN's Global Marine Programme describes the new high-tech tool and what impact it will have.

Marine issues go high tech
A new layer of Google Earth Outreach was launched today which will bring marine conservation to millions of desktops around the world for the first time.

Climate change: pushing species to the brink
Thirty-five percent of the world’s birds, 52 percent of amphibians and 71 percent of warm-water reef-building corals are likely to be particularly susceptible to climate change, the first results of an IUCN study have revealed.

Tales of 12 species: Conservation or destruction?
The book Adrift: Tales of Ocean Fragility was launched today, with stories of curious sharks and ghost fishing on high seas.

The Barcelona Diary segment features interviews with some conservationists ...
Managing the wetlands of Borneo
Seselia Ernawati works for Riak Bumi, an Indonesian NGO which aims to involve local people in managing the natural resources in and around the wetlands of Danau Sentarum National Park in Borneo. The aim is to encourage people to make a living out of non-timber products and women have come to the fore as the main producers of handicrafts.

Saving the Dugong
Seichi Aruga (47) comes all the way from Japan with the hope that the IUCN World Conservation Congress will help save Dugong (Dugong dugon). As an active member of Save the Dugong Campaign Centre, he has been instrumental in conserving this endangered species. He is optimistic that this Congress will break grounds on Dugong conservation.

On the daily Terraviva News, more features and articles ...
A swampy future for mangroves
Even as the images of the Indian Ocean tsunami four years ago remain locked vividly in memories, conservationists say the impact of such a disaster can be cushioned considerably through the conservation of coastal ecosystems, including preserving mangroves.

And other interesting issues as well ...
Debate traces the long road to sustainability
How far has the last 20 years of environmental activism got us along the road to real sustainable development? This was the starting point for an impassioned debate at the IUCN Barcelona congress on Monday.

Critics challenge conservationists to emulate business leaders for change
Two days after IUCN's President called on the world's corporate executives to seat environmental leaders on every board of directors, critics at the World Conservation Congress countered that environmental leaders must urgently learn and adopt business management approaches, otherwise the conservation movement will continue to “fail” to achieve the impacts it has been seeking for decades.

New shades of green
Ministers, environmental scientists and business leaders from around the world explored examples of new approaches to conservation today at an IUCN and WWF discussion.

Live culture
A new understanding of the 'diversity of life' is gaining ground—‘biocultural’ diversity: diversity in culture as well as nature. Biodiversity and cultural diversity are intimately related to each other. Humans have adapted to life in particular environments, learning about stewardship and responsibility: how to use natural resources without depleting them, and often by enhancing them. Ken Wilson of the Christensen Fund says we cannot hope to save biodiversity if we don't take care of the myriad cultures and traditions that exist around the world. …

When do we stop buying?
Is the advertising industry the main culprit for over consumption in the developed world? What needs to be done to change people's ways and minds? IUCN TV talks to Marcus Brown, CEO of Young&Rubicam Brands, who confirms that one planet is just not enough.

Living with nature through oriental wisdom
How do you measure how well off a country is? How about using Gross National Happiness (GNH)? That’s the way Bhutan defines quality of life, as opposed to Gross National Product.

What is the value of nature? A report offers an answer
A joint German/European Commission study released today offers economic tools to assess the value of nature in order to better protect it.

Are countries measuring up?
Will countries meet the 2010 biodiversity target to reduce or halt the rate of loss of biodiversity? According to the results of the Countdown 2010 Readiness Assessment the G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) show medium to low performance in achieving the target

And there are also blog posts about the Congress, and lots more on the IUCN Congress site.

See also the BCC's Richard Black's Wildlife conservation: Congress diary for insightful comments on the Congress.

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