In 2010, news headlines have been dominated by natural disasters, a continuing economic recession and political turmoil around the world. This was a year in which we all could use a little more good news.
Despite challenges, this year Conservation International (CI) made great strides in expanding the scope and scale of our work across the planet, tackling some of the toughest environmental issues of our time. From the Pacific Islands to the forests of Liberia and many places in between, hundreds of CI employees and thousands of partners worked tirelessly to advance the long-term protection of the ecosystems on which we all rely.
As we approach another busy year, we wanted to share some of those successes — achievements possible only due to the support of our generous donors like you.
Search for the Lost Frogs
Researchers participating in CI's "Search for the Lost Frogs" have so far rediscovered three amphibian species not seen in decades — and found three other species believed to be new to science. Spanning 19 countries on five continents, the search is the first-ever coordinated effort to find such a large number of "lost" creatures. Global amphibian populations recently have seen shocking declines, with more than 30 percent of all species threatened with extinction.
Driving the search is the important role that amphibians play in healthy ecosystems and the services they provide to people, such as controlling insects that spread disease and damage crops, helping to maintain healthy freshwater systems, and fueling the development of new drugs with the potential to save lives.
Due to widespread interest in joining this campaign from amphibian experts around the world, we will continue the search in the new year and expand to new countries and landscapes. The expedition findings will continue to increase our global understanding of the threats to amphibians and bring us closer to finding solutions for their protection. Learn more »
Creating the Pacific Oceanscape
Fifteen nations endorsed a draft framework to create the Pacific Oceanscape, a 38.5 million square-kilometer (nearly 14.9 million square-mile) region surrounding their collective islands in the central Pacific. The oceanscape covers a territory larger than the combined land size of Canada, the United States and Mexico, including some of the most pristine and abundant coral reefs, islands, seamounts and marine systems remaining in the world today.
The oceanscape concept was initiated by President Anote Tong of Kiribati, whose country's Phoenix Islands Protected Area was recently inscribed as the planet's largest World Heritage Site. CI supported the oceanscape's design and continues to provide technical and scientific assistance for its implementation. The oceanscape framework aims to unite regional policies and actions aimed at ocean protection and management, sustaining the cultural and natural integrity of the ocean for Pacific Island people and the rest of the world.
The Pacific Oceanscape is a vehicle for building pride, leadership, learning and cooperation across this ocean environment. It represents perhaps the largest marine conservation management initiative in history. Learn more »
Building a Green Economy in Liberia
Led by Africa's first female head of state, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the West African nation of Liberia is emerging from decades of conflict and pioneering a low-carbon development pathway that will leverage and preserve the country's forests and other natural resources to fight poverty and sustain long-term economic development. To support this strategy, CI has worked with the government and local nongovernmental organizations to conduct an economic analysis of the country, examining the costs and benefits of various policy options in a range of sectors, including timber, forest protection and agriculture.
This analysis has concluded that a 25-year low-carbon development strategy could provide substantial benefits for Liberia, including these recommendations:
- Liberia's participation in the carbon market could bring in annual revenues of at least $55 million (or up to three times that amount if carbon credit prices continue to rise)
- Income from a carbon finance system could be invested in more sustainable agricultural practices, which would reduce deforestation due to slash-and-burn methods and bring long-term economic and environmental benefits for farmers
- A variety of means should be combined to reduce deforestation, ranging from the expansion of protected areas to the introduction of energy-efficient stoves, which would reduce the need for fuelwood
CI is continuing to engage with various ministries to strengthen their scientific, economic and policymaking capacities to deliver on this ambitious vision. Learn more »
Local CI Partners Win U.N. Equator Prize
Four of CI's previous and current partners were presented with the Equator Prize —an award designed to honor communities from around the globe who have worked at the grassroots level to reduce poverty through biodiversity conservation.
LEARN MORE: Big names turn out to celebrate community conservationists
Sponsored by the U.N. Development Programme's (UNDP) Equator Initiative, in partnership with CI, The Nature Conservancy and others, the Equator Prize is awarded to 25 communities or programs every other year in an effort to highlight the critical connections between biodiversity conservation, healthy ecosystems, climate change and achievement of the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals for people, such as poverty alleviation. Special recognition was given this year to initiatives that best exemplify indigenous peoples' use of traditional knowledge and those that best exemplify ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change.
This year's award honored CI partners from Ecuador, Venezuela, Madagascar and Bolivia — groups working on issues ranging from reforestation to ecotourism to the cultivation of medicinal plants — putting an international spotlight on important grassroots efforts. Learn more »
CEPF Launches Investment in the Mediterranean Basin
Building on 10 years of work in some of the world's most important yet vulnerable regions, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) launched the first-ever comprehensive plan to preserve the natural ecosystems of the Mediterranean Basin — a vast geography that connects Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and contains 10 percent of the world's plant species.
With nearly half a billion people living around the Mediterranean Basin and more than 220 million tourists visiting the region each year, efforts to reduce pressures on the ecosystem are vital, and new approaches are needed to ensure that the region maintains the services and biodiversity that have supported civilization in the region for millennia.
In order to identify conservation priorities in the region, Doğa Derneği (the Turkish Nature Association) first led the development of an ecosystem profile for the basin. Building on this information, CEPF — a joint initiative of CI, AFD, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank — will be issuing grants to organizations in six priority areas within the region to undertake the necessary field work. Learn more »
Read more CI success stories.