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UNEP launches global connectivity conservation project

27 July 2015

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.

Across the world, multiple drivers of change such as mining and oil exploration; large scale cattle ranching; roads; and sprawling cities are resulting in the degradation, fragmentation and disconnection of natural habitats on land and in the sea, as well as the disruption of vital ecosystem services for both biodiversity and mankind. These drivers are generally associated with the alteration and isolation of habitat important for movement of organisms and for the maintenance of ecological processes present in previously connected landscapes and seascapes. As a result, many areas of high biodiversity are now found in isolated ‘islands’ within a matrix of human altered land and seas.

The solution to this problem is reconnecting habitats and preventing further fragmentation. By gathering information on good practices from existing initiatives, past and present, and drawing from those examples, a strategy can be developed that supports national governments and other stakeholders to protect important ecological and ecosystem functions by re-establishing and enhancing connectivity at the landscape and seascape scale. As a result, nature will be more resilient to future changes in climate and land use and guarantee the provision of ecosystem services such as water for irrigation, business and consumption; pollination; and carbon storage.

A key output from this project will be a sound evidence base that can support the creation of a Global Connectivity Conservation Strategy, which will provide policy and legislative tools and resources to national governments, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders. This strategy will be presented to the United Nations Environmental Assembly as a way to support its decisions and UNEP’s Programmes of Work. The first step being implemented by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), in collaboration with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN WCPA), is to produce a global database of connectivity conservation initiatives that includes lessons learned and best practices.

UNEP and its project partners welcome contributions from all sectors for the database of connectivity conservation initiatives and further work on the development of policies and guidelines. We are particularly interested in identifying suitable grey literature and examples and experiences of connectivity conservation that are not already well known, as well as spatial data.

For more information on how to contribute with information or to join the discussion on connectivity conservation please contact us:

Neville Ash - Neville.Ash@unep.org
Marcelo Gonçalves de Lima – marcelo.lima@unep-wcmc.org