Mammals, markets, media – and much more!

06 October 2008 | News story

The first day of the IUCN World Conservation Congress forum was jam packed, with the results of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species among the highlights.

The Red List revealed the world’s mammals are facing an extinction crisis, with almost one in four threatened with disappearing forever. Overall, the IUCN Red List now includes 44,838 species, of which 16,928 are threatened with extinction.

“Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives.”

Meanwhile, the IUCN sustainability dialogues got underway. The first, on greening development to address climate change, brought together heads of development agencies to look at how they can ensure environmental issues are incorporated into their programmes.

Monique Barbut, Chief Executive Officer of Global Environment Fund (GEF), suggested that natural capital could create solutions. “The problem is that nobody has ever put a price on natural resources; it has always come for free,” she said.

The second sustainability dialogue, a transition to sustainability: towards a diverse and sustainable world, focused on the major sustainability challenges for the 21st century, such as shifting to a low carbon economy, and the key innovations to solve them.

It featured IUCN President Valli Moosa and several TIME Heroes of the Environment and Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, Publisher of the International Herald Tribune.

A joint IUCN and WWF initiative, connect2earth, announced its grand prize winner today. Sofia Mateus, 29, won the international youth competition which invited young people to have their say about the environment by uploading videos, pictures and comments.

Meanwhile, a new online database that manages the world’s national parks was launched by IUCN and the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre. The online tool allows users to zoom in, fly over and explore over 100,000 national parks.

In a special event sponsored by IUCN’s Director General, Pavan Sukhdev, the leader of a global study called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, explored the issues around ‘mainstreaming’ biodiversity and ecosystem values in economics, markets and business. Panelists included Tom Albanese, Chief Executive of mining giant Rio Tinto, and Jochen Flasbarth of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment.

Tomorrow’s diary promises to be just as fully packed with two more sustainability dialogues planned, as well as a report on climate change in Latin America from the World Bank. For the full programme of tomorrow’s events please visit: http://208.112.69.59/agenda/


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.