Gone are the days when conservationists only worked with each other. In the coming years IUCN will work with an increasingly diverse range of partners to achieve its goals. Here are some examples.
SOS: Save our Species
IUCN has joined with the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank to establish Save Our Species (SOS), calling on businesses to help build the biggest global species conservation fund by 2015. SOS aims to bring together financial support from private business with international conservation expertise and cooperation from countries facing species extinction. It will provide grants for conservation action on the ground, focusing on specific threatened species and their habitats, and will bring much needed coordination between many different players. It also gives businesses an opportunity to become directly involved in saving the natural world and help meet their sustainable development goals. A few grants have already been selected covering more than 30 species. IUCN will manage the initiative using the fi ndings of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ and the expertise of its thousands of experts around the world. The initiative was launched during the recent Convention on Biological Diversity conference, introducing Nokia as the fi rst business partner to join.
Boutique coffee producer Nestlé Nespresso continues to expand and deepen commitments to sustainability through its partnership with IUCN. Together IUCN and Nespresso are working to change aluminium production and recycling systems, as well as determine how Nespresso’s coffee management programme affects biodiversity. IUCN and Nespresso are continuing to work on ways of making sure the aluminium used in Nespresso capsules is produced sustainably. This means bringing together companies from bauxite miners to recycling companies, environmental, human rights and labour organizations, academics and government agencies to agree a set of principles and criteria and develop a credible verification scheme for the aluminium industry. Nespresso is also expanding the number of coffee farms in its supply chain which are committed to the company’s AAA Sustainable Quality Programme. It is assumed that management practices used to achieve AAA status enhance the farm’s environmental, economic and social performance. While Nespresso has carried out studies to measure the economic results of its verification scheme, there has not yet been an equivalent study for the environmental results. The goal is to determine whether such verifi cation yields results in terms of biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and water management.
Awe and wonder
IUCN is joining the likes of BBC Earth, Encyclopedia of Life, National Geographic Society, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a collaborator on the new Smithsonian Ocean Portal, a website devoted to awareness, understanding and stewardship of the world’s oceans. The Portal, launched on 2 June last year to mark World Ocean Day, already has more than 20 collaborators. IUCN will promote marine conservation on both its own website and on the Ocean Portal including through articles on the Red List process, particularly highlighting threatened species in the Gulf of Mexico and through guest blogs from Commission members. The Portal is a source of dynamic, multi-media content designed to engage young adults, ocean enthusiasts, middle school teachers and students in ocean science, education and conservation.
The final frontier
Ocean warming and loss of ice is expected to accelerate in the Arctic in the coming years due to climate change and is already affecting Arctic ecosystems. Retreating sea ice will increase human activity, putting additional pressure on the environment, and requires new ways of managing and protecting the region’s natural resources. IUCN and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are starting to explore opportunities to enhance Ecosystem-based Management through regional cooperation in the Arctic marine environment, with the support of Shell. Other organizations joining these efforts include the Ecologic Institute and the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (CMBC) from the University of California. Shell signed a long-term agreement with IUCN in 2007 to work more effectively with experts to reduce its environmental impact and support conservation.
Wave energy has enormous promise; estimates of potential generation capacity vary widely, between 8,000 and 80,000 terawatt hours per year—enough to cover 42–421% of global electricity demand. Several countries including Argentina, Australia, China, Germany, India, UK and the US are already developing projects to harvest this offshore renewable energy resource. Apart from the energy produced, it is important to understand the effects on biodiversity these installations may have. Last year saw the launch of a new IUCN project in partnership with the Swedish energy company, Vattenfall AB which will review the latest science to predict the environmental effects of wave farms. The project aims to produce a user-friendly scientifi c overview of the potential for wave energy installation to function as artifi cial reefs, fi sh spawning areas and as de facto marine protected areas. The overview aims to lead to objective, sciencebased discussions among politicians, the conservation community, private business and local stakeholders.