Cash now, save life tomorrow, says IUCN

21 September 2010 | International news release

As world leaders gather in New York for tomorrow’s first ever United Nations high level event on the extinction crisis, ahead of the UN General Assembly, IUCN urges governments to put up the cash that will allow the ever increasing rate of species extinction to be slowed and eventually reversed.

“Twenty-one percent of mammals, 30 percent of amphibians, 12 percent of birds, 35 percent of conifers and cycads, 17 percent of sharks and 27 percent of reef-building corals assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ are threatened with extinction,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “Failure to act will damage our economies, our livelihoods, our health and our quality of life.”

The UN high level event is designed to raise awareness of the global crisis facing the natural world and highlight the urgent need for stronger action to implement the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is designed to reverse the loss in species extinction.

“New targets are set to be recommended for aiming to halt the loss of species at next month’s key CBD meeting in Nagoya, but this meeting will mean nothing unless States look to the cost and practicalities of reaching these within ten years,” says Jane Smart, Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group. “This first ever high level event on biodiversity at the UN provides an occasion for world leaders to give political impetus and support for a sustained global response.”

Biodiversity loss is continuing at an unprecedented rate. Urgent action is needed to ensure the resilience of people and nature, and to avoid catastrophic tipping points. Recovering from such dramatic changes is impossible in many instances and always difficult and costly. ‘Business as usual’ will not achieve a future for biodiversity.

“IUCN urges world leaders at the UN General Assembly to ‘seize the moment’ and invest in what is necessary now,” adds Julia Marton-Lefèvre. “When governments meet next month in Nagoya they must be ready to invest what’s needed to halt biodiversity loss, and so avoid the much larger costs of inaction.”

Media team:

Brian Thomson, Media Relations Manager, m +41 79 721 8326, e brian.thomson@iucn.org