The West Asia region is known for its rich biodiversity and wide range of fauna and flora, but like any other region, its biodiversity is seriously threatened. Due to increasing threats to species, there is an urgent need to build capacity in the West Asia for assessing the status of threatened fauna and flora, and thus the Royal Botanic Garden of Jordan and IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature – Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA) are organizing a joint regional workshop to train experts in West Asia on the use of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.
The IUCN Red List is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of plant, fungi and animal species. It is based on an objective system for assessing the risk of extinction of a species should no conservation action be taken. “The scientific knowledge provided by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species can be used by decision makers to inform conservation planning and influence policy for the benefit of nature and people. It is an indicator and a ‘parameter’ to measure the harmonization between our developmental programmes and our nature and species conservation efforts.” Said Dr. Odeh Al-Jayyousi, IUCN West Asia Regional Director.
The workshop will be held from 17-21 January 2011 at the Dead Sea, in the presence of HRH Princess Basma bint Ali, founder of the Royal Botanic Garden initiative, and under the patronage of HE Minister of Environment Eng. Nasser Shraideh. “This training is considered a starting point for preparing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in the region,” said Her Royal Highness Princess Basma bint Ali founder of the Royal Botanic Garden Initiative. “We, at the Royal Botanic Garden and in Jordan are ready to provide the neighboring countries with our full support to prepare the IUCN Red List,” she added.
This workshop is the first of its kind to be conducted in the West Asia region. More than thirty, from governmental and nongovernmental organizations in Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and Iran, will be trained in the application of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Categories and Criteria for species assessments. The outcome will be a skilled team that is capable of assessing, evaluating and preparing the Red List of Threatened Species in West Asia
This workshop is considered the cornerstone for the development of national and regional strategies to assess the threats facing the species across the region. “We should differentiate between species extinction and the humankind activities that are threatening the species survival,” said HE Nasser Shraideh, Minister of Environment in Jordan. “We are hoping from this workshop to develop the basis for a national effort to document the situation of species and take necessary measures to reduce the level extinction and increase the numbers of threatened species to acceptable limits,” he added.
The latest update of the IUCN Red List showed that globally 21 percent of all known mammals, 30 percent of all known amphibians, 12 percent of all known birds, and 28 percent of reptiles, 21 percent of fish species, 68 percent of plants that have been assessed so far are threatened with extinction.