Countdown 2010 hits 1,000!

15 February 2010 | News story

15 February 2010, Brussels. Celebrations are taking place today at the Regional Office for Pan-Europe of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)! Countdown 2010 welcomes its 1000th partner Eurogypsum right at the beginning of the International Year of Biodiversity.

In just five years, the Countdown 2010 network – hosted by the IUCN – has grown rapidly. In its first days, the network comprised of only a handful of organizations which were already active in helping protect our environment. But thanks to the efforts of the small team at the time, the Countdown 2010 message reached audiences outside the traditional environment community. Businesses, local and regional authorities, museums, academic institutions and many more have joined the network from all over Europe and since 2007 also from other parts of the world (South America, Southern Africa and Asia).

The Countdown 2010 initiative has gained recognition in Europe as the largest multistakeholder network dedicated to the 2010 Biodiversity Target. Today’s achievement highlights once more the success of this initiative.

“When we first created the network we had great ambitions, but never did I expect to witness such a quick growth in such a short time” commented Sebastian Winkler, Head of Countdown 2010. “This shows that there is a need out there for a platform like Countdown 2010 which brings together different actors for biodiversity and helps them do something concrete for its conservation. Sometimes organizations would like to commit but do not know how and Countdown 2010 has helped them in this regard.”

More than 370 local and regional governments have committed to biodiversity action. Around 80 businesses have taken measures to improve their environmental records. More than 450 NGOs, universities and institutes, community groups and local organizations, and about 80 ministries and government agencies have identified and implemented their specific commitments for biodiversity.

“This is a great achievement for IUCN. The fact that we reached this milestone at the start of the International Year of Biodiversity is an extra stimulus to sustain and enhance our efforts to make this year memorable for biodiversity and humanity” stated Hans Friederich, Regional Director a.i. for IUCN in Pan-Europe.

Eurogypsum is the 1000th partner of Countdown 2010. Eurogypsum is the European federation of national associations of gypsum products manufacturers. “We are delighted to be part of this active network and to contribute to its mission. The European Gypsum Industry targets excellence in incorporating biodiversity conservation into its operations and reducing its ecological impact while providing new habitats for biodiversity after quarries are no longer used” said Jean-Pierre Clavel, President of Eurogypsum.