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									Save Biodiversity 04/07 Update from Countdown 2010
In this Issue
•	 Feature:	Drivers	of	Biodiversity	Loss	 o	 What	destroys	biodiversity	 o	 Humanity,	the	manipulator	 o	 Systems	of	sustainability	 •	 •	 •	 •	 •	 Do	it	yourself:		 Travel	in	a	sustainable	manner	 State	of	Biodiversity:		 European	Mammals	Assessment	 Down	to	Earth:		 the	Basque	country	and	biodiversity	 Internal:	New	Advisory	Board	 Focus	on...	A	Rocha	

Dear Countdown 2010 Partners, dear Readers,
07/07/07 – very quietly, something clicked last weekend. While millions were partying with Madonna and others against a climate in crisis, the Millennium	 Development	Goals to alleviate extreme poverty by 2015 reached their halfway point. The 2010 biodiversity target is part of them, as an intermediate step to ensuring environmental sustainability. However, campaigners sound rather pessimistic that these targets are going to be met, and this is for two reasons: Most governments show little enthusiasm to scale up their activities, and climate change is making live harder for the poorest, and for biodiversity. Are	we	without	hope? Far from it. Even	the	G8 have now recognized the importance of meeting the 2010 biodiversity target, and more than 250 partners of Countdown 2010 are working to save biodiversity on a daily basis. But we have to keep going. Next year will be big for biodiversity: In May, the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity meet in Bonn, Germany. Just five months later, the global conservation community gathers in Barcelona for the World	Conservation	Congress. If you want to contribute a workshop, you’d better hurry: The deadline for registrations is July 31. Enjoy reading! 	

Sebastian	Winkler,	Head	of	Countdown	2010


Feature: Drivers of Biodiversity Loss
Countdown 2010 is a powerful network of partners, united by a common goal: ‘Save	 biodiversity’. But what do we want to save biodiversity from? The following articles on the drivers of biodiversity loss are part of the travel exhibition	 ‘Nature	–	Our	Precious	 Net’. Together with the magazine GEO and others, Countdown 2010 has produced this exhibition to illustrate the challenges related to the 2010 biodiversity target and to tell of the importance of biodiversity to human existence. For more information and to book the exhibition, please contact wiebke. herding@

What destroys biodiversity
New roads and buildings, overfishing and emissions from industry exemplify the three most damaging pressures upon biological diversity: habitat loss, overexploitation and pollution. All three of these impacts are mounting relentlessly: humankind’s ecological	footprint is growing. Agriculture has reshaped the planet more than any other human activity. Today, nearly a quarter of the Earth’s surface is cultivated even though intensified cropping methods have resulted in considerably higher yields. Whereas the world’s population grew by 100 percent between 1960 and 2000, food production rose by 160 percent. This development has come at a price: The Earth’s primary forests had to make way for fields and pastures and now only cover a third of their original extent. In many places, intensive farming has salinated and overfertilised the soil, which has affected the rivers that drain the fields. Many species have been unable to adapt to this degradation and are disappearing. The situation is particularly alarming in the oceans: Three quarters of all edible fish stocks and commercially used marine organisms are completely exhausted or overexploited. Yet the first steps in a positive direction are underway: More and more farmers are cultivating their land while minimising their impact upon nature. Consumers are increasingly asking for organically grown products. But the most important instrument is to establish networks of protected areas in which nature can regenerate. The goal of giving protected status to ten percent of all ecosystem types could soon be achieved. But biodiversity also needs to be conserved outside protected areas: sustainable management supported by the local population using quotas and licences can counter overexploitation and pollution.
• Ayuntamiento de Berja • Belgian	Ministry	for	the	 Environment	and	Pensions • Centro	Flora	Autoctona	 (Native	Flora	Centre	of	 Lombardy) • Ecosystem	Conservation	 Society	-	Japan • Gemeente	Oss • Marevivo-	Associazione	 Ambientalista • Milieusteunpunt Oss • Ministry	for	the	Environment	Luxembourg • Ministry	of	State	for	 Environmental	Affairs-	 Egypt • Observancia • RIBES- Italian network of seed banks for ex-situ conservation of wild plant species • Stichting 'De Zwaluw aan de Balken Bouwt' • Stichting	Maasmeanders • The	British	Association	 for	Shooting	and	Conservation	(BASC) • UNESCO	Chair	on	 Sustainable	Development	and	Environmental	 Education

New Partners
Countdown	2010	would	 like	to	welcome	its	new	 partners.	

You want to join as well? See here or speak to the Secretariat!

• I.V.N.- Oss • Landschapsbeheer	Oss

Humanity, the manipulator
All species continuously seek to better adapt to their environmental conditions. Over millions of years, this process, which we call evolution, has led to a complex balance between predator and prey, between specialists and generalists, in all ecosystems. Then, humans have begun to change the rules. We have confronted ecosystems with more new influences than any other species or natural event. We have multiplied billion-fold across all continents. We send vast amounts of materials, animals and plants around the world. Intentionally and unintentionally, alien species have entered many ecosystems. Some of them, such as the Nile Perch in East Africa’s Lake Victoria, have spread to such a degree in their new environment that they have caused the extinction of hundreds of indigenous species. Each year, these invasive species create damage totalling billions of euros. Human interference has also altered the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere. Climate change will lead to an estimated rise in average global temperature of 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius. As a result, extreme weather incidents are already on the increase. And climate change has immense consequences for all ecosystems some of which are life-threatening. Whether it be the marine turtles of the tropics or the polar bears of the Arctic, their survival is becoming more and more critical. The consumption of fossil fuels and the destruction of those forests that absorb large quantities of carbon has caused the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide content to rise exponentionally over the last 250 years. Today, we know that this increase is crucially contributing to global warming and has to be reduced. Given the current level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, global warming will intensify at least over the next fifty years. More than ever before, it is our duty to reduce anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions – starting now!

Systems of sustainability
Can we manage the planet’s biological resources in a manner that allows them to regenerate and, also, to continue to be of use to coming generations? Humans have been faced with this question for thousands of years. Again and again, they have developed methods to help us use natural resources without exhausting them. All over the world, and especially in communities living in seminatural environments in developing and emerging countries, centuries-old traditions have survived up to this day: For example, in shifting cultivation in the Amazon region, only small spaces are used in the forest that are overgrown again after a few years. There, a social system of taboos prevents people from hunting more animals than can be reproduced. Other methods have been forgotten, and are only gradually being rediscovered. So it is important to preserve traditional ways of cultivating, breeding and healing since they can contribute to a model of the economy that has only a smaller impact on the environment. However, to an increasing degree, it is new technologies that can enable an efficient management of natural resources. For example, thanks to satellite-generated GPS data, farmers in Germany and other industrialised countries can work out the fertiliser and irrigation amounts they need down to the square metre. Even though they have emerged without conscious consideration of “biodiversity”, practices like these can be adopted in integrated concepts for sustainable management and the protection of biological diversity. Whether it be traditional knowledge or state-of-the-art technology, only in dialogue with everyone involved can forms of management that are viable in the long run become dominant.


11 June 2007 Countdown	 2010	Partners	Assembly 7 June 2007 G8	to	increase	efforts	to	 achieve	the	2010	biodiversity	target 5 June 2007 World	Environment	Day	sends	a	 ‘Message	for	our	Future’ 4 June 2007 Amsterdam:	 a	European	leader	for	 2010	biodiversity	action 23 May 2007 Vietnames	ministry	 begins	countdown	to	 save	biodiversity 22 May 2007 Belgium’s	 contribution	to	saving	biodiversity 22 May 2007 One	in	six	 European	mammals	 threatened	with	 extinction

Do it yourself: Travel in a sustainable manner
Transportation makes up about a quarter of humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions. Sitting in your car every morning in the traffic jam is expensive, takes up your time and pollutes the environment. Do you have to be uncomfortable to travel more sustainably? Definitely not. There are plenty of options to be more cost and time efficient, consider your health and the environment all at the same time, with a small change in your traveling habits.
• Green	your	driving: just a couple of “small tricks” can help you improve fuel economy, safety and air quality. UNEP advises to mix your traveling methods, regularly check your tire pressure and remove unnecessary weight from your vehicle. All tips can be found on the ‘Greener	 Driving’	website. • Share	your	car:	car sharing is a great way of bonding with your colleagues and reducing your carbon footprint, without giving up the comfort you enjoy in your car. With less cars on the roads there is less traffic, less noise and less pollution. • Walk	and	Cycle: getting to work in a “non-motorized manner” is beneficial to your health: it prevents heart diseases as it increases your circulation, makes you fit, costs nothing and gives a fresh start to your day. • Travel	Planner: a growing number of organizations support their staff by building bicycle parking lots, showers or giving small prices to employees who use alternative travel methods to private cars. Do not expect to convert everyone, but with enough enthusiasm, you can inspire your environment. • Public	transport: one of the easiest methods to reduce your carbon footprint is using public transport instead of your car. Again, in some cases, this can save you a considerable amount of time, perhaps give you an opportunity to read your newspaper and reduces your costs.

If you are still not convinced to reduce your car use, at least go for	one	with	low	emissions (<120g/km).
• Local	authorities	for	sustainable	transport • WBCSD	-	sustainable	mobility	project • European	Federation	for	Transport	and	Environment

Internal: New Advisory Board
At the 2007 Partners Assembly on June 11, eighty partners of Countdown 2010 proposed strategies and actions to move towards the 2010 biodiversity target and called upon governments to report on their achievements so far.

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Convention on Biological Diversity and Countdown 2010, Tamas Marghescu, IUCN Regional Director for Europe, added: “Everyone has a responsibility to save biodiversity, from the very local to the global level. With this agreement we’re building a strong alliance for the 2010 biodiversity target.”

Ladislav Miko, Director at the European Commission, called upon all participants to contribute to the challenge of halting biodiversity loss: “We seem to be very good at producing ideas – now let’s get even better in making them a reality.”

The annual Countdown 2010 Partners Assembly also appointed a new Advisory	Board	to provide strategic guidance for the initiative. The fifteen advisors work for all sectors, from local biodiversity initiatives via national governments to international organisations.
Countdown	2010	Partners	 Assembly

State of Biodiversity: European Mammals Assessment
Nearly one in every six mammal species is now threatened with extinction, shows the first assessment of all European mammals, commissioned by the European Commission and carried out by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The population trends are equally alarming: a quarter (27%) of all mammals has declining populations and a further 33% had an unknown population trend. Only 8% were identified as increasing, including the European bison, thanks to successful conservation measures. Europe is now home to the world’s most threatened cat species, the Iberian Lynx, and the world’s most threatened seal, the Mediterranean Monk Seal, both classified as Critically	Endangered. Europe contains a rich diversity of mammals ranging from the small and rarely seen nocturnal shrews and voles to the elusive brown bear. But the results of the European Mammal Assessment are clear: while some 15%, or almost one sixth, of mammals are threatened in Europe, the situation of marine mammals is even bleaker: some 22% are classified as threatened with extinction. The true number is likely to be even higher, as almost 44% were classified as Data	Deficient due to missing information. By comparison, 13% of European birds are threatened.
• European	Mammals	Assessment

More News
22 May 2007 Parliaments	 asks:	will	our	grandchildren	still	eat	fish? 22 May 2007 Local		 Action	in	Portugal 22 May 2007 Countdown	 2010	in	Southern	Africa 22 May 2007 La	pérdida	 de	la	biodiversidad,	es	 una	pérdida	del	ser	humano 21 May 2007 Luxemburg	 commits	Euro	50	million	 to	biodiversity 16 May 2007 The	Basque	 capital	Vitoria-Gasteiz	 joins	2010! 2 May 2007 Concrete	 commitments:	UEPG	 joins	Countdown	2010

Down to Earth: the Basque country
Far up in the North of Spain lies one of Countdown 2010’s model regions: The Basque country. Over the coming four years, the region – and its capital, Vitoria Gasteiz, will substantially strengthen their nature conservation work. Although the Basque country has already protected 23% of its land (European average: 15%), it will extend by 2010 the area of autochthonus forestry by 10,000 hectars and restore 50 hectars of wetland. Organic agriculture is projected to grow to 1200 hectars, and invasive species will have a hard time. To make up for this, Vitoria Gasteiz will focus on specific species protection measures: The city ais to reintroduce the European mink into the capital area, and increase native freshwater turtle populations. These measures will be accompanied by an awareness raising campaign for biodiversity. Vitoria Gasteiz and the Basque government understand themselves as multipliers, engage other stakeholders and, above all, municipalities in the region. Municipalities are of great importance to nature conservation: they often possess large areas of land but lack help and information on how best to protect it. As part of the LARA 2010 project (Local and Regional Authorities for Biodiversity 2010), the region will help to inspire local and regional authorities all over Europe to save biodiversity by 2010.
• Webstory: The	Basque	capital	Vitoria-Gasteiz	joins	2010! • Vitoria-Gasteiz • Basque	Country	

30 April 2007 Egypt,	the	 First	Arab	Country	to	 sign	the	Countdown	 2010	Declaration


About this newsletter
This newsletter is issued bi-monthly by Countdown 2010. We welcome comments and feedback to Previous issues of this newsletter can be found at www.

Focus on... A Rocha: Conservation in the Mediterranean Biodiversity Hotspot
A Rocha is an international conservation organisation, with a Christian basis, working in 16 countries. Within the Mediterranean, it has over 40 years of combined experience in nature conservation in Portugal, France and Lebanon. Earlier this year, it launched a	Mediterranean	Programme as a specific contribution to Countdown 2010, aiming to reverse biodiversity decline at key sites across this bioregion. This region is one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots and faces significant threats such as pollution and tourism related development. It receives 110 million visitors every year, and this figure is expected to double in the next two decades, putting tremendous pressure on surviving areas of natural habitats and traditional farmland. A Rocha is pushing for effective compliance to the Habitats Directive, for example in South Portugal where the Alvor Estuary Natura 2000 site is in critical danger of being irreversibly damaged by tourism development. It continues to monitor how current operations are affecting priority habitats and species, and to provide the technical justification for local and national authorities to make correct judgments on allowable development. To this end A Rocha has just completed the first detailed GIS mapping of interest features for the Natura 2000 site as an important planning tool. The Mediterranean Programme aims to raise awareness of, and help develop solutions for, such problematic cases by linking together A Rocha’s conservation and research activity and working with other stakeholders in the region, including the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation. A local approach, but global perspective, is essential for meeting the 2010 biodiversity target.
• A	Rocha	 • IUCN	Centre	for	Mediterranean	Cooperation

Upcoming Events



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24 September – 13 October International	Seminar:	 Countdown	2010:	people,	protected	areas	and	 biodiversity	conservation (Majella, Italy) 10-12 October Sixth	Ministerial	Conference	Environment	for	 Europe (Belgrade, Serbia) 12-13 November EU	Presidency	Conference	on	European	 Business	&	Biodiversity (Lisbon, Portugal)

19-30 May 2008 9th	Conference	of	the	 Parties	of	the	Convention	on	Biological	Diversity (Bonn, Germany) 5-14 October 2008 World	Conservation	 Congress (Barcelona, Spain)


n n Unio t rvatio onse is Schmid u rld C o els Lo The W oulevard 040 Bruss m CN 1 64 B /o IU Belgiu

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