We believe in a world where biodiversity counts

Our dedicated team combines scientific excellence, outstanding technical ability and a passion for nature

News archive

New centre for biodiversity conservation named after Sir David Attenborough

22 April 2015

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. As the future home of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), of which UNEP-WCMC is a partner, the David Attenborough Building will become a focal point for research and practice to transform our understanding and the conservation of biodiversity.

GBO-4 now available in Portuguese

21 April 2015

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.

Biodiversity damage mapped by global land-use study

02 April 2015

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.

Republic of Congo evaluates costs and benefits of its REDD+ strategic options

01 April 2015

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.

Designing systematic conservation planning systems in West Africa

10 March 2015

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.

World’s protected natural areas receive eight billion visits a year

25 February 2015

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.

Paraguay prepares for REDD+ with UNEP-WCMC

17 February 2015

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

13 February 2015

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.

IPBES meeting pushes forward regional assessment

11 February 2015

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.

Towards a Global Butterfly Indicator

06 February 2015

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.

Review of UNEP-WCMC: its performance and recommendations for the future

02 February 2015

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.

Growth in protected areas network needed

02 February 2015

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.

Streamlined access to global spatial data through UNEP-WCMC's Ocean Data Viewer

25 November 2014

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.

Cambridge EcoHack focuses on protected areas

21 November 2014

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.

New UNEP Report Unveils World on Track to Meet 2020 Target for Protected Areas on Land and Sea

13 November 2014

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.

UNEP-WCMC welcomes visitors to Protected Planet Pavilion at World Parks Congress

12 November 2014

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. 

EcoHack is coming to Cambridge

10 November 2014

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.

Online reporting made easier

03 November 2014

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.

The A-Z of biodiversity

21 October 2014

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.

Fish moving poleward at rate of 26 kilometres per decade

14 October 2014

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.

New UNEP-WCMC-supported global biodiversity assessment discussed by governments

13 October 2014

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.

UN report calls for bold and accelerated global action to meet biodiversity targets by 2020

13 October 2014

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.

Browse the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and their indicators on your mobile

10 October 2014

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. 

Putting policies to the test: scenarios on food security, environments and adaptation in the Great Lakes region

06 October 2014

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.

More investment needed to reach international biodiversity targets by 2020

02 October 2014

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.

Twenty-seven new vertebrate species discovered in the Eastern Arc Mountains

26 September 2014

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).

Sizing-up the economic value of REDD+ benefits in Panama

23 September 2014

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.

New improved toolkit helps non-experts value important natural areas

12 September 2014

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. 

Near-extinct African amphibians ‘invisible’ under climate change

05 September 2014

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. 

Predicting the impact of land-use change on biodiversity

01 September 2014

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.

Exploring links between biodiversity, carbon storage and other ecosystem services

13 August 2014

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.

Towards a global map of natural capital

01 August 2014

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.

Action against illegal wildlife trade gains high-level support

26 June 2014

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.

Addressing climate change: Why biodiversity matters

24 June 2014

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.

First UN Environment Assembly heralds new era in global efforts to address environment sustainability

20 June 2014

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.

Developing data and information management for sustainable, green African economies

11 June 2014

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.

Raise your voice, not the sea level

05 June 2014

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.

Indigenous and local knowledge has important role in biodiversity assessments

23 May 2014

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.

UN Secretary-General shares message on International Day for Biological Diversity

22 May 2014

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.

UNEP-WCMC recommendations adopted by CITES

20 May 2014

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.

Fostering collaboration between conservation experts and the world’s largest extractives companies

12 May 2014

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 Spotlights Pioneering Sustainable Tourism Initiative

09 May 2014

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.

The first General Ecosystem Model is released

23 April 2014

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.

CITES Trade Database breaks new ground with open-source technology

17 April 2014

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.

In a changing climate it's a dog eat dog world

14 April 2014

New study demonstrates that climate change disrupts natural relationships between species.

Using remote sensing to monitor biodiversity

09 April 2014

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.

Does conserving biodiversity alleviate poverty?

24 March 2014

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.

Building Natural Capital: How REDD+ Can Support a Green Economy

21 March 2014

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.

UNEP-WCMC to present at Global Land Project Open Science Meeting

18 March 2014

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. 

World Wildlife Day

03 March 2014

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. 

Q&A on World Economic Forum with Jon Hutton

17 February 2014

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.

Declaration on illegal wildlife trade

14 February 2014

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. 

Global soil carbon: new study highlights need for better understanding

11 February 2014

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.

Fourth issue of PARCC Project Newsletter is now available

31 January 2014

The latest issue of the Protected Areas Resilient to Climate Change in West Africa (PARCC) Project is available now in both English and French.