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. Last week, we highlighted five landmark accomplishments; now, here are four more successes that inspire hope for the future of our planet.
A Global Commitment to Biodiversity Protection
October’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Nagoya, Japan resulted in a historic agreement to preserve the world’s biodiversity — and the benefits that it provides for humanity.
Representatives from nearly 200 countries met to make greater commitments to conserving global biodiversity, promoting sustainable resource use and facilitating fair and equitable sharing of resource benefits by all stakeholders. CI acted in a general advisory capacity for these representatives, with nine staff members also serving on the national delegations of their native countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Madagascar, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru, the DRC, Japan and Indonesia.
Among their commitments, the CBD participating nations agreed to expand ecosystem protection to 17 percent of the Earth’s land surfaces (including inland waters) and 10 percent of marine ecosystems (up from the 13 percent and 1 percent, respectively, of these areas that is currently protected). This agreement represents a critical step forward in slowing the global extinction crisis. Learn more »
Proof that Healthy Oceans Help People
A series of new reports from the Science-to-Action partnership — a global network of 75 organizations headed by CI — represents a milestone for marine conservation efforts worldwide: further proof that sustainable ocean management is crucial for human survival. Bringing together research spanning more than 20 countries and half a decade of work, these publications focus on the effectiveness of marine managed areas (MMAs).
MMAs are multi-use ocean zoning schemes that usually include various degrees of protection, including no-take zones, buffer zones that limit certain activities, and areas dedicated to specific uses, such as fishing or dive tourism. The research examined factors such as biophysical conditions, local economics, sociocultural data, governance and capacity-building.
The most illuminating study of these new reports is a survey conducted to examine the human well-being effects of MMAs in Belize, Fiji, Ecuador and Panama. Results indicate that community members whose livelihood is directly tied to the MMA have higher income, more diversified livelihoods and greater appreciation for the biodiversity and socioeconomic benefits of the MMA. Learn more »
Empowering Local Communities to Take Action for Climate Change
As the international community moves forward on developing REDD+, a mechanism that provides monetary incentives for developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by halting or preventing forest destruction, the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities is crucial to its success.
In order to provide essential information to support the effective participation of these groups, CI has launched “Climate Change and the Role of Forests,” a series of manuals and a training course designed to build a skilled team of local educators to deliver trainings to communities or other stakeholder groups on topics related to climate change, using methodologies and tools appropriate for community audiences. These materials cover the basics of how and why the climate is changing, the carbon cycle and the role of forests in climate processes; climate policy; ecosystem services and the basic information on REDD+ discussions.
The manuals are currently available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Bahasa Indonesian. As local people complete the training course and go on to educate their fellow community members about these important issues, we are helping to ensure that the people who will be the most affected by REDD+ will have the information they need to make decisions about new mechanisms that affect their lives and livelihoods. Learn more »
Walmart Makes New Commitments to Sustainable Agriculture
Since 2004, CI’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB) has been working with Walmart to green their business practices. This year, thanks in part to CELB’s input, Walmart made ambitious new commitments to expand support for sustainable agriculture practices by 2015.
Some of these commitments include:
- Doubling the percent of locally-grown produce sold in U.S. stores (up to 9 percent)
- Requiring sustainably-sourced palm oil in all private label products that include palm oil as an ingredient
- Creating an agricultural sustainability index that will make sure Walmart buys from the greenest suppliers, and allow customers to choose which products to purchase based on how they were grown and/or shipped
- Ensuring that beef sold in Walmart stores has not contributed to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.
Given Walmart’s position as the world’s largest grocer with one of the biggest food supply chains, these new commitments are especially exciting. Although these changes require only small modifications by the company, their impact will reverberate across the planet.
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Happy holidays from Conservation International!