The Asian Species Action Partnership (ASAP) is an interagency coalition to address the extinction risk among the most threatened land and freshwater vertebrates of Southeast Asia. Organizations within the international conservation community are joining forces to minimize impending extinctions in this area of the world, where habitat loss, trade and hunting have contributed to a dramatic loss of its rich and incredible biodiversity.
ASAP is an IUCN SSC initiative bringing together organisations and using this synergistic strength to be more effective in achieving ASAP species conservation. ASAP consists of Partner organisations who are interested in implementing and / or funding conservation for ASAP species and is open to NGOs, IUCN SSC Specialist Groups and Red List Authorities, donors, government agencies, academic and research institutions, ex-situ facilities that focus on conservation breeding or awareness, zoo associations, and others as relevant.
Establishing the Asian Species Action Partnership
The concept for the partnership was a response to the alarming results of a comprehensive Global Mammal Assessment in 2008. This was a programme to assess the conservation status of the world's mammal species for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, and showed that Southeast Asia had by far the highest concentration of species on the edge of extinction of any region in the world.
A meeting of conservation organizations shortly thereafter clarified that similar worrying patterns were shown by other hunted and traded groups (e.g., reptiles) in the region, and that a major cause was the explosion in urban markets for wildlife meat and medicinal products over the last ten to thirty years.
ASAP can be viewed as an emergency call with a species-specific response, aimed at focusing attention on a region that, without more serious conservation intervention, is likely to see the demise of much of its wonderful diversity of charismatic fauna.
By mobilizing support where it is urgently needed, drawing on the collaborative expertise of conservation practitioners, pool resources and efforts to maximize efficiency, and galvanise political will, ASAP hopes to minimise extinctions which could be imminent within the next two to three decades.
Form and Function of ASAP
ASAP has a mandate to:
As a matter of urgency, reverse the declines in the wild of Critically Endangered freshwater and terrestrial vertebrates in Southeast Asia.
ASAP has three main objectives:
- To strengthen direct conservation action for the recovery of ASAP species
- To enhance understanding and support, especially in Southeast Asian countries, for ASAP species conservation
- To increase political commitment regionally and globally for the conservation of ASAP species
The Partnership aims to address these through:
- identifying and catalysing urgent actions to reduce immediate threats causing the decline of ASAP species;
- facilitating the effective conservation of ASAP species by raising their profile;
- catalysing a range of recovery activities for ASAP species (both in- and ex-situ) by supporting ASAP Partner efforts, strengthening ongoing conservation action and promoting new initiatives;
- increasing financial support for ASAP species through creation of new funding mechanisms;
- encouraging collection and distribution of information essential for the conservation action for ASAP species.
Species on the brink
Presently, there are 174 species on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species that meet all of the four ASAP criteria for eligibility: (1) Critically Endangered; (2) land or freshwater (3) vertebrates occurring regularly in (4) Southeast Asia. It should be noted, however, that some species included in this list, such as the Pink-headed Duck Rhodonessa caryophyllacea, which has not been observed in the wild with any certainty since 1949, and does not exist in captivity, (BirdLife, 2012), may already be extinct.
Most ASAP species are birds (52), followed by fish (48), mammals (40), reptiles (24) and amphibians (10), respectively.
Further information can be found on the Species on the Brink website - link above.
For general enquiries, proposals for working collaborations, details of how to engage with ASAP and becoming an ASAP Partner please contact [email protected]
ASAP Chair: Simon Stuart
ASAP Secretariat Manager: Nerissa Chao
ASAP Species Advisor: Will Duckworth
ASAP Development Advisor: Madhu Rao