The United Nations launched 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) on 12 January in Berlin while calling the world to action to slow down the rate of biodiversity loss. In a message to the world UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “Business as usual is not an option.” Here is a powerful message that everyone needs to see courtesy of the official IYB website.
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Among activities to be carried out during this year are raising awareness on the importance of conserving biodiversity for human well-being and promoting understanding of the economic value of biodiversity. Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, the Executive Secretary of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), running this global campaign says, “Biodiversity is life and without biodiversity, there is no life on earth. It’s our food. It’s our water. It’s our forest, our fish. So without biodiversity, there is no life. So biodiversity is about our life and life on earth”.
The BirdLife Partnership (Nature Seychelles is BirdLife’s patner in Seychelles) is an official partner of the International Year of Biodiversity. BirdLife’s work on birds, habitats, and communities has helped to keep track of losses and successes in biodiversity conservation. For instance, Seychelles has proven through its conservation successes with habitat restoration for endemic bird species that protecting birds is good for other species too. “There is a ripple effect that benefits people and their livelihoods. Similarly a reversal is interlinked, loss of biodiversity ultimately affects us.” Says Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles Chief Executive.
During the year, progress towards reducing biodiversity loss will be reviewed and new proposals and targets to counter further loss set. Already the World Conservation Union (IUCN) is sounding the alarm over loss of species. “The abundance of species has declined. Species present in rivers, lakes and marshlands have declined by 50%. Declines are alarming in amphibians, mammals, birds in agricultural lands, corals and commonly harvested fish species.” Says IUCN.
A high percentage of this loss is occurring due to human activities. Habitat loss and degradation are the leading threats so is climate change. Species and ecosystems need space to develop and recover. There’s a worldwide call to action. Governments are being asked to balance economic development with maintaining and improving ecosystems and habitats. Farmers are being asked to develop farm diversity and reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizer and adopt organic agriculture practices. 75% of all fisheries are fully exploited or over-fished, therefore there is a need for sustainable use of fisheries or there will simply be no fish left for tomorrow. And climate change has to be combated to ensure that species survive. At individual level, such actions as simply not wasting, and re-using and re-cycling whatever is used can help to conserve biodiversity.
To contribute to creating awareness during the International Year for Biodiversity, the Januarry – June 2010 Zwazo, Nature Seychelles conservation magazine will carry articles and information about biodiversity conservation efforts in the Seychelles.