Levels of biodiversity loss may have a negative impact on ecosystem function and the sustainability of human societies according to a study published in Science (15 July 2016) and led by researchers from UNEP-WCMC, University College London (UCL) and the Natural History Museum, London.
The 2015 UNEP-WCMC Annual Report illustrates how the Centre continues to deliver the highest quality information and knowledge to enable decision-makers to put biodiversity at the heart of decision-making. Amongst other achievements, during the year the Centre delivered enhanced support for UNEP’s strategic presence in China and Brazil and supported new efforts to strengthen economic understanding of the environment.
UNEP-WCMC have released a new manual for practitioners and researchers on Resilience and Adaptation Planning for Communities in Protected Areas, which provides the practical tools needed to effectively engage with communities living in, and around, protected areas to develop appropriate strategies to deal with the negative impacts of climate change.
On Tuesday 7th June 2016 a new guidance document, Mapping Biodiversity Priorities, was launched at the 13th National Biodiversity Planning Forum (BPF13) in Wilderness, South Africa, by the CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Dr Tanya Abrahamse, and John Tayleur of UNEP-WCMC.
How can we balance increasing demands for food, fibre and fuel with the need to conserve biodiversity under a changing climate? A paper published last month by UNEP-WCMC and others suggests that a spatially explicit exploration of trade-offs can support better land use planning and reduce biodiversity losses from projected agricultural expansion in East Africa.
Ahead of the meetings for the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 2) held in Nairobi, Kenya 23-27 May 2016, a major series of six regional reports entitled GEO-6 Regional Assessments, were launched. These six reports, one each for the Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Pan-European, West Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America regions have been prepared by UNEP in collaboration with many governmental and non-governmental organizations, research bodies and institutions, including the UNEP-WCMC.
The United Nations, backed by A-list celebrities from across the globe, today launched an unprecedented campaign against the illegal trade in wildlife, which is pushing species to the brink of extinction, robbing countries of their natural heritage and profiting international criminal networks.
The important role that biodiversity can have in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was highlighted by UNEP-WCMC at two events during UNEP’s celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity. Held in Nairobi, Kenya on the day before the official opening of the second United Nations Environment Assembly, the events saw the launch of four new reports on the regional state of biodiversity and a discussion on how integrating biodiversity into approaches to meet the SDGs is important for policy coherence and cost-effective implementation.
Today on the International Day for Biodiversity, a major series of four regional reports entitled The State of Biodiversity – a mid-term review of progress towards the Strategic Plan, have been launched.
To prevent a new mass extinction of the world’s animal and plant life, we need to understand the threats to biodiversity, where they occur and how quickly change is happening. For this to happen, we need reliable and accessible data. A new study published in Science today reveals those data are largely missing. We are lacking key information on important threats to biodiversity such as invasive species, logging, bush meat harvesting, and illegal wildlife trade.
Finding solutions to some of the many challenges facing the natural world has come a step closer today, with the opening of a new global conservation hub in Cambridge, UK. Located in the David Attenborough Building, the new campus acts as a centre for the Cambridge conservation ‘cluster’ – the largest grouping of nature conservation organizations, including UNEP-WCMC, and university researchers in the world.
UNEP-WCMC is collaborating with the Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment (IRIMHE) of Mongolia to develop decision-support tools, such as maps, to inform the development of REDD+ planning that takes into account the conservation of natural forests, biodiversity and the multiple functions of forests in Mongolia.
To help people take account of, and manage ecosystems in ways that allow them to adapt to climate change in coastal areas, UNEP-WCMC has led the production of a guide of EBA options under the UNEP ‘Building Capacity for Coastal Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Small Islands Developing States’ project funded by the European Commission.
Assessing the state of biodiversity and the benefits nature provides to people is one of the functions of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which meets in Malaysia this week. To achieve this goal, the platform must synthesise large volumes of data from around the globe and together with other organizations, UNEP-WCMC is facilitating this process.
The capacity of decision makers in West Africa to assess and understand the impacts of climate change and factor this knowledge into national policies and protected area management has been enhanced by a Global Environment Facility (GEF) project managed by UNEP-WCMC.
Last week, from 25-27 January, UNEP-WCMC hosted this year’s meeting of the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership. Hilary Allison, Head of UNEP-WCMC’s Ecosystem Assessment Programme reflects on the meeting and the importance of developing indicators that can be used to report on multiple global conventions.
UNEP-WCMC's strategic partnership with its parent organisation has been reaffirmed today, as two senior UNEP staff join our Management Team. Neville Ash has been appointed to the position of Director of UNEP-WCMC, and Corli Pretorius as Deputy Director. Both will join the Centre in April.
First Nations fisheries’ catch could decline by as much as 49 per cent by 2050, estimates a new University of British Columbia (UBC) study led by Lauren Weatherdon, Programme Officer at UNEP-WCMC that examined the threat of climate change to the food security and economies of First Nations along coastal British Columbia, Canada.
From 1 to 8 December, members of the UNEP-WCMC Climate Change and Biodiversity Programme participated in several events on the margins of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP21) in Paris, France.
The second edition of the Manual of marine and coastal datasets of biodiversity importance now identifies 128 marine and coastal datasets (Annex 2), including 69 detailed metadata sheets (Annex 3) providing the information required to use these datasets effectively.
The global extent of natural wetland declined by 30 per cent between 1970 and 2008, according to new research led by UNEP-WCMC for the Ramsar Convention Secretariat. The Wetland Extent Trends (WET) index, which revealed the 30 per cent decline, is the world’s first indicator of change in area of natural wetland worldwide.
A consortium of leading research institutes (IIASA, INPE, IPEA and UNEP-WCMC) joined forces to develop and apply a land use model that can support the development of policies that balance food and biofuel production and environmental protection.
UNEP-WCMC is now a member of the Natural Capital Coalition, a global platform that brings together like-minded organizations to share and promote their approaches and best practice to integrating natural capital into business and decision-making.
Global energy demand from developed nations can have an adverse impact on freshwater resources in less developed nations according to a new study led by the University of Southampton, to which UNEP-WCMC contributed. While current energy policy focuses on preventing greenhouse gas emissions, the results show that freshwater impacts also need to be considered when deciding future national and international energy policies.
The UN-REDD Programme has launched a new video highlighting lessons and experiences on REDD+ safeguards from Africa. The video profiles key lessons learned and experiences from participating countries in the UN-REDD Programme Africa Regional Exchange on Country Approaches to Safeguards held in Nairobi in June 2015.
A high-level conference on agriculture transformation in Africa will take place 21-23 October with an aim to discuss and endorse a plan that will build a strong and sustainable agriculture sector in Africa. Maxwell Gomera, Deputy Director, UNEP-WCMC is participating in this event that will be attended by high-level representatives of the World Bank, African Development Bank, and African national governments.
UNEP-WCMC is celebrating the achievements of one of its long-serving team members, Simon Blyth. Simon has been part of the Centre for 25 years, producing beautiful maps with his expert GIS knowledge and attention to detail.
New services allow for better integration of CITES Checklist and Species+ with national information systems and databases, facilitating the standardized use of species names and Appendix listings and reducing duplication of effort in maintaining these lists.
BBC Earth has launched a pilot model for an Earth Index that aims to demonstrate the financial contribution that nature makes to the global economy. Created by BBC Earth and Tony Juniper, UNEP-WCMC was commissioned to provide a scoping study that identified the research and methodologies that have attempted to place an economic value on nature.
Accounting for the variable components of biodiversity is complex and less advanced than water or carbon accounting. To address the gap in accounting knowledge, UNEP-WCMC has developed technical guidance on experimental biodiversity accounting.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner issued a statement following the historic adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and 17 Global Goals by 193 UN Member States, designed to put the world on a pathway to sustainability.
UNEP-WCMC is partnering with BirdLife International, the World Bank Group, and others, to convene a Pan-African Business and Biodiversity Forum that aims to promote increased sustainability within Africa’s development agenda.
As a pre-meeting to the Pan-African Business and Biodiversity Forum, UNEP-WCMC is convening a one-day workshop to bring together key decision makers and experts within the oil and gas and mining sectors within Africa.
Throughout the year, as part of our commitment to offering development opportunities, UNEP-WCMC offers internships to students and recent graduates wishing to pursue a career in conservation. Interns are immersed into our areas of work that reflect their own interests, developing their skills and knowledge as they gain professional experience of working for an internationally-focused conservation organization.
Protected Planet is changing. As part of the ICCA (indigenous peoples’ and community conserved territories and areas) Global Support Initiative, UNEP-WCMC is expanding the Protected Planet databases so that they can accurately represent protected areas where the people making the decisions are local communities and/or indigenous peoples.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a new project that will search for and bring together a wealth of information on connectivity conservation that UNEP will use to inform the development of its global connectivity conservation strategy.
A call for conservation scientists, remote sensing specialists, and space agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA), to collaborate on building global observing systems for biodiversity, has been co-authored by UNEP-WCMC and published today (22 July 2015) in Nature Communications.
An interactive online infographic created by National Geographic now allows you to explore which protected animal species are traded internationally and the reasons for their trade. Using data from the CITES Trade Database, which is managed by UNEP-WCMC on behalf of the CITES Secretariat, the infographic also reveals which countries are the biggest exporters and importers of CITES-listed animals.
The World Heritage Committee is meeting in Bonn, Germany, from 28 June to 8 July to examine the proposals to add 37 properties to the World Heritage List. As part of the evaluation process, UNEP-WCMC completed a comparative analysis of the proposed sites nominated under biodiversity criteria (ix and x), which helped inform the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) recommendations to the World Heritage Committee.
A new species of frog identified in Africa’s Eastern Arc Mountains has been named after UNEP-WCMC’s Head of Science, Professor Neil Burgess. Professor Burgess has worked in the region for almost 20 years, describing its unique biodiversity and encouraging its conservation.
An Editorial by Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme. As we sit down to lunch or dinner on this World Environment Day, it is important to consider this: one-third of all food produced globally each year – 300 million tonnes – is wasted. This waste costs the global economy a staggering one trillion dollars a year.
The 2014 UNEP-WCMC Annual Report highlights our continued commitment to place biodiversity at the heart of decision-making, and our achievements in 2014.
The CITES Trade Database, which provides the most comprehensive resource on international trade in species listed in the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), has now exceeded 15 million records of trade.
UNEP-WCMC has launched a redesigned and reimagined Protected Planet website. Protectedplanet.net is the online face of the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), a product of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that is managed at UNEP-WCMC.
World Environment Day (WED), the UN’s principal vehicle to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the environment, will be celebrated around the world on 5 June with a call to governments, communities and individuals to improve their consumption patterns.
Long-term solutions to address gaps in nature conservation and the protected areas agenda in Europe is the aim of the ‘Little Sydney’ meeting taking place at Donau-Auen National Park, Austria from 28 to 31 May. UNEP-WCMC will be there to demonstrate the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) and show off Protected Planet as the ‘one-stop shop’ for protected areas information.
Today is International Day for Biological Diversity and this year’s theme focuses attention on using biodiversity for sustainable development. This day of celebration coincides with the closing day of the Africa Rising: Mobilising Biodiversity Data for Sustainable Development, which aims to liberate policy-relevant biodiversity data and use it in sustainable development planning.
Under the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme), UNEP-WCMC and UNDP have developed a ‘Benefits and Risks Tool’ (BeRT). The new tool will help REDD+ countries to address and respect the social and environmental safeguards set out by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Using biodiversity data to enable evidence-based decision-making and spur sustainable development in Africa is being explored at Africa Rising: Mobilising Biodiversity Data for Sustainable Development, taking place now in Cape Town, South Africa. Hosted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, UNEP-WCMC is part of the organizing partnership.
World Migratory Bird Day 2015 will be celebrated on 9-10 May in over 80 countries with the theme "Energy - make it bird-friendly!" It will highlight the importance of deploying energy technologies in a way that minimizes impacts on migratory birds and their habitats.
An international team of palaeontologists and marine ecologists has revealed that studying marine organisms that died out over the past 23 million years can help identify which animals and marine ecosystems are at most risk of extinction today. Their study is published today in the journal Science.
An iconic building in the centre of Cambridge, UK, has been renamed the David Attenborough Building, in honour of Sir David’s pioneering work in bringing the wonders of our natural world to our screens. The building is the future home of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), of which UNEP-WCMC is a partner.
The Fourth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-4), a periodic summary of the latest data on the status and trends of biodiversity, including an assessment of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, has been translated into Portuguese. Jon Hutton, Director of UNEP-WCMC, and Matt Walpole, Director of Programmes at UNEP-WCMC, attended the launch of this translation at an event held at UN House in Brasilia, Brazil.
Humanity’s use of land for agricultural production has come at a cost to local ecosystems worldwide, but some of the damage can be reversed, according to a major collaborative research project from UNEP-WCMC the Natural History Museum, and British universities.
The National REDD+ Coordination (CN-REDD) of the Republic of Congo, together with the UN-REDD Programme, organized a launch workshop for a national study on the potential of REDD+, held 3-4 March 2015 in Brazzaville. On behalf of the UN-REDD Programme, UNEP-WCMC is providing technical support for the design and implementation of the study.
Within the framework of the PARCC West Africa GEF project, national workshops were held in The Gambia and Togo at the end of February and beginning of March to design systematic conservation planning systems for each of the project countries. The workshops were co-organised by IUCN PACO and UNEP-WCMC and led by Dr Bob Smith from DICE University of Kent.
Researchers say that the first study to attempt to gauge global visitation figures for protected areas reveals nature-based tourism has an economic value of hundreds of billions of dollars annually, and call for much greater investment in the conservation of protected areas in line with the values they sustain – both economically and ecologically.
UNEP-WCMC has been working closely with the UN-REDD National Joint Programme in Paraguay to develop maps which can be used as decision-support tools by the Paraguayan government when planning for REDD+.
Biodiversity, sustainable development and the law will be the focus of an expert seminar and international symposium taking place in Cambridge, 20-22 February 2015. Global environment leaders, academics and practitioners will share valuable insight on the past successes, current hurdles and potential future solutions to implementing international treaties on biodiversity. UNEP-WCMC are pleased to be involved in this exciting event.
UNEP-WCMC was among the 700 delegates from 270 governments, scientific organizations, civil society and the private sector who attended the Third Meeting of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) held 12-17 January in Bonn, Germany.
UNEP-WCMC, Dutch Butterfly Conservation, GEO BON and EU BON recently convened a butterfly monitoring workshop which has catalysed the process for the development of a Global Butterfly Indicator to track changes in butterfly populations.
To mark the end of another three years of the collaboration between UNEP and WCMC, the UK charity, which provides support to the United Nations Environment Programme in the specialist field of biodiversity, the Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, established a senior Working Group from across UNEP to review the UNEP-WCMC’s performance and make recommendations for its future.
In 2010, the world’s governments committed to conserving 17% of land and 10% of sea by 2020, particularly those places of particular importance for nature. With five years to go to achieve this target, new research by 40 authors from 26 institutions, including UNEP-WCMC and led by BirdLife International, shows that the current Protected Areas system is still failing to cover all key sites, species and ecosystems.
UNEP-WCMC is pleased to announce the launch of an updated version of the Ocean Data Viewer (ODV). The site has been refreshed to provide a more streamlined, user-friendly tool for viewing and accessing spatial data and relevant information regarding policies and biodiversity.
A global relay of EcoHacks took place the weekend of 15-16 November in six cities across the world. UNEP-WCMC hosted the leg which took place in Cambridge, UK, where 20 people from software development, design, and science backgrounds came together to work on three hacks.
The world is on track to meet a 2020 target on the expansion of protected areas, but more work is needed to ensure areas of importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services are prioritized for protection under equitably managed conditions, according to a new UNEP report.
As the World Parks Congress gets underway in Sydney, Australia, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are ready to welcome visitors to the Protected Planet Pavilion.
On 15-16 November, UNEP-WCMC will be hosting the Cambridge leg of the latest edition of EcoHack. With events taking place in six locations over three continents, this EcoHack is set to the most exciting one yet.
This week, UNEP-WCMC will present its analysis of the 2014 national reports to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) at the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS. For the first time, Parties to CMS submitted their national reports using a template made available on the Online Reporting System (ORS) developed by UNEP-WCMC.
UNEP-WCMC would like to announce the launch of the updated Biodiversity A-Z website. The site provides concise and authoritative information about biodiversity in an accessible and simple manner. The new website structure divides the information up into easy to browse biodiversity-related themes, including two new themes - Marine and Acronyms - and has a new and powerful search.
Large numbers of fish will disappear from the tropics by 2050, finds a new University of British Columbia study authored by Miranda Jones of UNEP-WCMC’s Marine Programme, which examined the impact of climate change on fish stocks. The study identified ocean hotspots for local fish extinction but also found that changing temperatures will drive more fish into the Arctic and Antarctic waters.
The Fourth Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-4) is the latest United Nations report on the state of biodiversity, and the first to consider progress in implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted by Parties to the CBD in 2010.
Bold and innovative action is urgently required if governments are to meet the globally-agreed Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and its Aichi Targets by 2020, says a United Nations progress report, to which UNEP-WCMC contributed, on the state of global biodiversity.
The latest instalment of the Aichi Targets Passport is available now to download as an app from iTunes and Google Play. As the flagship publication of the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership, the Aichi Targets Passport provides annual updates on the global biodiversity indicators that monitor progress towards the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the underlying Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
On 25-27 June, decision-makers and researchers from across the East African Great Lakes region met in Entebbe, Uganda to discuss what the future might hold in terms of development, agriculture and environmental change.
A new study published in Science today reveals that, despite some progress, more needs to be done to reach an internationally agreed set of biodiversity targets by 2020.
A study by an international team of scientists updates knowledge on the faunal richness of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and Kenya; presents the discovery of 27 new vertebrate species (of which 23 amphibians and reptiles).
A new UN-REDD report explores the potential value of REDD+ in three regions of Panama (Bocas del Toro, the Canal region and the Darién). Prepared by UNEP-WCMC under Panama’s UN-REDD National Programme, this economic analysis can help with deciding which land-use options can be most beneficial.
The new improved, interactive Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA) was launched this week at the 7th Annual Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Costa Rica and is now available online.
An international team of researchers has found that the majority of threatened species are ‘invisible’ when using modern methods to predict species distributions under climate change.
Species that live within a narrow range and have specialist habitat requirements are disproportionally affected by the conversion of land for human-dominated use. Using the PREDICTS model, scientists at UNEP-WCMC and the Natural History Museum, London are able to predict the consequences of land-use change on biodiversity.
A review by UNEP-WCMC of the relationship between biodiversity, carbon storage and the provision of other ecosystem services has identified broad agreement that forests, especially natural intact forests, provide a wide range of ecosystem services, and that biodiversity is important in supporting them.
For the first time, a composite map of the world’s ecosystem assets has been produced, covering both marine and terrestrial realms. A report for the UNEP Division of Early Warning and Assessment by UNEP-WCMC presents global maps of assets such as biodiversity, freshwater resources and soil quality.
Illegal wildlife trade will be discussed today at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in the largest Ministerial gathering to convene during this current poaching crisis.
A new UNEP-WCMC policy brief, Addressing climate change: Why biodiversity matters, highlights the importance of considering biodiversity within climate change policies, programmes and projects, and presents opportunities to realize synergies.
The First United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) will convene in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23 to 27 June 2014. UNEA is the newly constituted UN high-level platform for decision-making on the environment.
Better data, better decisions, and smarter, ‘greener’ economies were the focus of discussion at a meeting held in Pretoria, South Africa 27-29 May. It was run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Africa in collaboration with UNEP-WCMC.
Every year on World Environment Day the United Nations encourages global action for the environment. Across the world, people come together to combine their individual actions into a collective effort to make a positive contribution to the environment.
A new study co-authored by Neil Burgess, Head of Science at UNEP-WCMC has proved the scientific value of indigenous and local knowledge collected from community members using focus groups.
Today is International Day for Biological Diversity - a day for us to celebrate the diversity of life on earth. To mark the occasion, United Nations Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon introduces this year’s "Island Biodiversity" theme and urges us to protect fragile ecosystems.
The Animals and Plants Committees of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) met from 28 April to 8 May. Of the 91 recommendations made by UNEP-WCMC for species categorizations for the Review of Significant Trade, 87 were adopted.
This week, UNEP-WCMC will bring together conservation experts and 17 of the world’s largest extractives companies who are part of the successful Proteus Partnership.
World Migratory Bird Day 2014 – celebrated in over 70 countries on 10-11 May – focuses on the role sustainable tourism can play in conserving one of the world’s true natural wonders: the spectacular movements of migratory birds along their flyways.
In a paper released today, scientists at UNEP-WCMC and Microsoft Research describe the world’s first General Ecosystem Model that attempts to simulate all life on earth – both on land and in the ocean.
Access to the CITES Trade Database – which contains some 14 million records on the international trade in CITES-listed species – is now easier and more reliable, thanks to cutting-edge, open source technologies.
New study demonstrates that climate change disrupts natural relationships between species.
In our latest contribution to the Convention on Biological Diversity Technical Series, a team from UNEP-WCMC explores how remote sensing can and should fit into biodiversity monitoring systems.
There is an assumption that conserving biodiversity can help in efforts to tackle global poverty and enhance human well-being. A small team including two of our scientists, Max Fancourt and Chris Sandbrook took a look at the evidence base for this assumption.
A new report outlines how integrating REDD+ programmes into a Green Economy approach can conserve and even boost the economic and social benefits forests provide to human society.
We will be presenting our work on modelling to assess the impacts of land use change at the upcoming 2nd Global Land Project Open Science Meeting in Berlin, Germany from 19 to 21 March.
Today we’re celebrating the first annual World Wildlife Day. Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as an occasion to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora, the date was chosen to coincide with the day that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was first adopted.
UNEP-WCMC’s Director, Jon Hutton, attended the 2014 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos at the end of January. In an interview with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, Jon reflects on his impression of the meeting and why the conservation community should be involved.
A commitment has been made by representatives of over 40 nations and 11 intergovernmental organizations to end the illegal trade in wildlife following a two day conference in London, UK.
The first comprehensive overview of the world's largest terrestrial pool of carbon highlights the importance of soil carbon conservation in mitigating global climate change.
The latest issue of the Protected Areas Resilient to Climate Change in West Africa (PARCC) Project is available now in both English and French.