The Caucasus is one of the regions, where diverse and healthy ecosystems have persisted until recently. With its approximately 1,200 endemic plant species and more than 50 endemic animal species, is one of the most biologically rich regions on the Earth and has been listed as one of 34 global biodiversity hotspots. However, this region is facing multiple threats from unsustainable exploitation and its natural wealth is being lost.
In order to stop this process, the governments of the region joined Countdown 2010. To facilitate the necessary actions in this key ecoregion, IUCN convened a meeting of more than sixty experts and stakeholders from four Caucasian countries, international NGOs and other organizations in Gudauri (Georgia) in May 2006. Sustainable management of natural resources, improvement of the region’s network of protected areas and efficient monitoring of biodiversity were identified as the priorities for the region.
IUCN POSC’s action programme “Halting Loss of Biodiversity” followed the recommendations made at the Gudauri meeting. Its activities aimed at developing biodiversity monitoring in the region, improving the regional protected areas system through building capacity of national government agencies, developing sustainable ways of natural resource use and increasing public awareness. Under the action programme a number of projects were carried out: