Re­port shows more pro­tected ar­eas

The Gulf Today - Time Out - - YOUNG WORLD - BY MEENA S. JANARDHAN

Around 15% of the world’s ter­res­trial area is bet­ter safe­guarded by con­ser­va­tion mea­sures, as well as over 7% of the world’s oceans, en­sur­ing the world is on track to meet im­por­tant con­ser­va­tion tar­gets, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Pro­tected Planet Re­port.

The Pro­tected Planet Re­port 2018 re­views the progress of Aichi Bio­di­ver­sity Tar­get 11, which aims for the ef­fec­tive and eq­ui­table man­age­ment of 17% of ter­res­trial and 10% of coastal and ma­rine ar­eas by 2020. The re­port con­cludes that the world is on track to meet the cov­er­age as­pect of Tar­get 11, and em­pha­sizes the need to meet other as­pects by 2020.

In ad­di­tion to host­ing the data that un­der­pins the re­port, there is now a new in­ter­ac­tive dig­i­tal ver­sion, high­light­ing key in­d­ings, and pro­vid­ing monthly up­dates to track progress.

By July 2018, more than 20 mil­lion km2 of the earth’s land sur­face and nearly 27 mil­lion km2 of ma­rine ar­eas had been des­ig­nated as ‘Pro­tected Ar­eas’ - lo­ca­tions that re­ceive pro­tec­tion to achieve the long-term con­ser­va­tion of na­ture. This rep­re­sents an in­crease in 0.2% of ter­res­trial and 3.2% of ma­rine ar­eas since the last re­port was pub­lished in 2016. Ev­ery month, new ar­eas are be­ing added and the on­line ver­sion of the re­port pro­vides the lat­est in­for­ma­tion, as world lead­ers work to ful­fil their agreed goals by 2020.

Pro­tected Planet® pro­vides the most up-to-date and com­plete source of in­for­ma­tion on pro­tected and con­served ar­eas at the global level. For ex­am­ple, the Ross Sea Re­gion Ma­rine Pro­tected Area was added to the World Data­base on Pro­tected Ar­eas in 2017. This is now the world’s big­gest pro­tected area at over two mil­lion square kilo­me­tres. Thanks to its des­ig­na­tion, ish­ing is now banned in 432,000 square miles of this Antarc­tic re­serve, in an at­tempt to pre­serve over 16,000 species, in­clud­ing the Adelie Pen­guin and Minke Whale. The site is man­aged by the gov­ern­ments of New Zealand and United States of Amer­ica.

More pro­tected ar­eas

The In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture (IUCN) has ad­mit­ted 15 new nat­u­ral sites to the IUCN Green List of Pro­tected and Con­served Ar­eas – the irst global stan­dard rec­og­niz­ing best prac­tice in pro­tected ar­eas. Sites in Egypt, France, Jor­dan, Kenya, Le­banon, Mex­ico, Peru and the United Arab Emi­rates re­ceived the cer­ti­ica­tion at the re­cent UN Bio­di­ver­sity Con­fer­ence in Egypt, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of sites on the IUCN Green List to 40.

Launched in 2014, the IUCN Green List mea­sures the ef­fec­tive­ness of pro­tected ar­eas, re­wards the best sites and pro­vides an in­cen­tive for sites around the world to im­prove their man­age­ment. Green listed sites are cer­ti­ied as be­ing ef­fec­tively man­aged and fairly gov­erned, with a pos­i­tive im­pact on peo­ple and na­ture.

The IUCN Green List also helps mea­sure and ac­cel­er­ate progress towards Aichi Tar­get 11, a UN bio­di­ver­sity tar­get which aims for 17% of ter­res­trial and 10% of ma­rine ar­eas to be pro­tected, ef­fec­tively con­served and fairly man­aged by 2020. While the world is on track to meet the cov­er­age as­pect of Tar­get 11, the ‘ef­fec­tive­ness’ as­pect is still far from be­ing reached.

Two of the newly added sites are lo­cated in Egypt, in­clud­ing Ras Mo­hammed Na­tional Park, a ma­rine site near Sharm ElSheikh where, thanks to ef­fec­tive con­ser­va­tion, some reefs boast a 90% cov­er­age of live corals, com­pared to 30-40% on av­er­age for non-pro­tected reefs in the Red Sea.

Sites on the IUCN Green List have demon­strated ex­cel­lence based on a rig­or­ous as­sess­ment of 17 cri­te­ria of suc­cess in four ar­eas: gov­er­nance, man­age­ment, de­sign and plan­ning, and con­ser­va­tion out­comes. In Le­banon’s Al Shouf Cedar Re­serve the threat­ened Le­banon cedar, a cul­tural sym­bol for the coun­try, is thriv­ing thanks to restora­tion and con­ser­va­tion pro­jects. The man­age­ment of the re­serve has suc­cess­fully adapted to the cur­rent refugee in­lux from neigh­bour­ing Syria, with refugees par­tic­i­pat­ing in con­ser­va­tion work. The re­serve also con­trib­utes to the lo­cal econ­omy by pro­vid­ing re­sources used for tra­di­tional prod­ucts and or­ganic food.

France is the coun­try with most sites on the IUCN Green List, from small ar­eas close to cities to vast ma­rine re­serves. In the Ter­res Aus­trales Françaises na­ture re­serve near Antarc­tica, the man­age­ment suc­ceeds in keep­ing hu­man ac­cess and ac­tiv­i­ties in check, de­spite the site’s huge size – 2.2 mil­lion hectares. Threats such as il­le­gal ish­ing and in­va­sive species are thus mon­i­tored and lim­ited. The site is im­por­tant for sci­en­tiic re­search as well as com­mer­cially vi­able ish species.

InPeru’sA­marakaer­iCom­mu­nal Re­serve, an­other newly green­listed site, fair gov­er­nance has led to im­proved man­age­ment. Ten indige­nous groups liv­ing around the park ef­fec­tively con­serve their ecosys­tems and help as­sess rare species, in­clud­ing the En­dan­gered Amarakaeri poi­son frog dis­cov­ered in 2017. Eco­tourism and other sus­tain­able ac­tiv­i­ties, de­vel­oped through col­lab­o­ra­tive agree­ments, sup­port the lo­cal econ­omy. The park lies in one of the world’s most bio­di­ver­sity-rich ar­eas in the Peru­vian Ama­zon. Grow­ing com­mit­ments Since its launch, the num­ber of coun­tries com­mit­ting to the IUCN Green List has grown four­fold – from eight to 33. Some 250 can­di­date sites have now vol­un­teered to achieve its stan­dard. The process of cer­ti­ica­tion is vol­un­tary and can take be­tween six months and ive years, dur­ing which time the sites work towards clear ob­jec­tives and tar­gets. For ex­am­ple, Van Long Na­ture Re­serve, Viet Nam, be­came a can­di­date in 2015. The cer­ti­ica­tion process has helped se­cure com­mit­ment to ex­pand the pro­tected area into two neigh­bour­ing prov­inces.

Coun­tries in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, Cote D’Ivoire, Kenya, Malaysia, Mada­gas­car, as well as the US State of Cal­i­for­nia, have com­mit­ted to nom­i­nat­ing more sites to the IUCN Green List in the near fu­ture. Cal­i­for­nia is pri­or­i­tiz­ing its 124 ma­rine pro­tected ar­eas, while Europe is study­ing how the stan­dard could be im­ple­mented across its net­work of pro­tected ar­eas, Natura 2000. China, which counts six pro­tected ar­eas on the IUCN Green List, plans to nom­i­nate more sites.

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