African Nations Meet On ‘Critical’ Nature Conservation

 

Delegates from across Africa launched Monday in Rwanda the first continent-wide gathering about the role of protected areas in ensuring the future of our planet.

The IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) is being held just a few months before the COP15 summit in December when global leaders are aiming to adopt a much-delayed pact to shield nature from the damage wrought by human activity.

“Protected areas are critical for the survival of the planet,” International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) director general Bruno Oberle said on the opening day of the talks in the capital Kigali.

“And the more we manage them for the benefit of people and nature,the more we will build a future where everyone — human and animal — thrives,” he said on Twitter.

Organisers said APAC will aim to shape the role of protected and conserved areas in safeguarding Africa’s wildlife, delivering vital ecosystem services, and promoting sustainable development while conserving the continent’s cultural heritage and traditions.

“It is high time that African policymakers put in place strong measures and strategies to ensure that the devastation of our rich biodiversity is stopped,” Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said.

Last month, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) 196 members held negotiations on the draft global biodiversity framework in Nairobi, but made only limited progress in ironing out differences.

At the heart of the COP15 draft treaty is a provision to designate 30 percent of Earth’s land area and oceans as protected zones by 2030.

More than 90 world leaders have signed a pledge over the past two years to reverse nature loss by then, saying the interconnected threats of biodiversity loss and climate change are a “planetary emergency”.

According to the most recent Protected Planet report by the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, only 17 percent of land habitats and around seven percent of marine areas were protected by 2020.

One million species are threatened with extinction, according to UN experts, and global warming is on track to make large swathes of the planet unliveable.

UN biodiversity experts warned this month that rampant exploitation of nature is a threat to the well-being of billions of people across the world who rely on wild species for food, energy and income.

The Kigali gathering runs until July 23 and has attracted more than 2,000 participants from across Africa and beyond, according to organisers.

Millions Of Dollars Lost As Elephants On Tour Wreak Havoc In China

UNMING, June 1, 2021 (Xinhua) -- Aerial photo taken on May 28, 2021 shows the herd of wandering wild Asian elephants in Eshan County, Yuxi City, southwest China's Yunnan Province. (Xinhua/Hu Chao) Hu Chao / XINHUA / Xinhua via AFP
June 1, 2021 (Xinhua) — Aerial photo taken on May 28, 2021 shows the herd of wandering wild Asian elephants in Eshan County, Yuxi City, southwest China’s Yunnan Province. (Hu Chao/AFP)

 

A herd of 15 wandering elephants on an epic trek through southwestern China have entered villages to gorge on crops, broken into barns, and caused a million dollars of losses.

Over the past week, the animals drained a water tank, helped themselves to a cornfield, and guzzled supplies after crashing into a barn, state broadcaster CCTV said.

It is unclear why the wild Asian elephants, a protected species in China, strayed from the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan province.

Their destination so far is unknown as well.

READ ALSO: China Confirms First Human Case Of Bird Flu Strain

But since April, the large animals have embarked on a 500km journey, closely monitored by residents and authorities, with hundreds of people mobilised to ensure public safety.

On Tuesday, Yunnan authorities said the herd was in a city just 20km from its provincial capital where millions live.

Experts believe the leader of the group might have led it astray, adding that it is rare for them to trek so far.

Since mid-April, the elephants have wrecked around 56 hectares of crops, causing an estimated 6.8 million yuan ($1.07 million) in losses, CCTV said.

No casualties have been reported so far, with locals attempting to guide the animals with food and by blocking roads with trucks.

The wild elephant population in Yunnan is around 300, up from 193 in the 1980s, reported Xinhua.

But there have been more reports of such elephants wandering into villages and harming crops in recent years, with the plants they usually eat gradually replaced by non-edible varieties amid forest expansion, said, local officials.

AFP

World Nature Congress Set For September 2021

This file photo taken on July 25, 2019 shows an aerial view showing beech trees suffering from drought stress in a forest in Warburg, western Germany.

 

A twice-delayed summit aimed at forging an international plan to reverse catastrophic species loss will take place in September 2021, its organisers said Tuesday.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature annual congress was not held as planned in June this year and was postponed indefinitely in September as the second wave of Covid-19 mounted.

“The IUCN Congress will be a key milestone for nature conservation and the development of a new global framework for biodiversity,” it said in a statement.

The summit will now be held September 3-11, 2021, in Marseille, France.

The IUCN congress is one of the biggest biodiversity summits on the global calendar, with conservationists urging nations to use the opportunity to commit to preserving vast wild spaces in order to halt species decline.

Campaigners are seeking a binding international agreement governing the preservation of nature, similar to what the Paris accord mandates for climate action.

World Nature Congress Postponed Again Over COVID-19

This file photo taken on July 25, 2019 shows an aerial view showing beech trees suffering from drought stress in a forest in Warburg, western Germany.

 

A summit aimed at forging an international plan to reverse nature loss will be delayed for a second time because of the pandemic, organisers said on Wednesday in a further blow to conservation efforts.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature said its 2020 congress, which had already been rescheduled for January 2021, would be further postponed to an unspecified date owing to “the sanitary situation associated with the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The announcement follows a series of dire warnings from scientists over the state of nature, with the United Nations saying on Tuesday nations were set to miss every single biodiversity target they set themselves a decade ago.

Last week the WWF’s biennial Living Planet Index found that populations of wild animals, birds and fish had plummeted nearly 70 percent in the last five decades.

The IUCN congress is one of the biggest biodiversity summits on the global calendar, with conservationists urging nations to use the opportunity to commit to preserving vast wild spaces in order to halt species decline.

It was originally slated for June in French Mediterranean port city Marseille, part of what was meant to be a pivotal year for biodiversity alongside the UN’s COP15 summit in Kunming, China, also postponed until next year.

Campaigners are seeking a binding international agreement governing the preservation of nature, similar to what the Paris accord mandates for climate action.

The stakes could hardly be higher: nature provides the food and water we consume, the medicines we take and the shelter we live in.

But the natural world is in a parlous state. Last year the UN’s biodiversity panel IPBES warned that as many as one million species of animals and plants risked extinction, hundreds of them within decades.

It said that up to three quarters of land and 40 percent of oceans have already been “severely degraded” by human activity.

“We are currently, in a systematic manner, exterminating all non-human living beings,” IPBES executive secretary Anne Larigauderie told AFP this week.

A major source of nature degradation is land use change — normally, converting forests to agricultural land to keep up with insatiable consumption growth.

The UN’s Global Biodiversity Assessment called for international cooperation in order to reduce food waste and loss and to reverse forest loss.

The assessment found that not one of the world’s biodiversity targets set in 2010 would be fully met, “undermining efforts to address climate change”.

AFP