IPBES Global Assessment: 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) this month came out with an alarming report on the status of our global ecosystems, habitats and species. IPBES, which is the UN-pendant to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), thereby contributes to the increasing understanding that the protection of nature is at least as crucial for the survival of life on our planet, as the protection of climate.

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide”, said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. And he also interprets the report “that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global. Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history. 

The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened. The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened. At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century.

Despite progress to conserve nature and implement policies, the Report also finds that global goals for conserving and sustainably using nature and achieving sustainability cannot be met by current trajectories, and goals for 2030 and beyond may only be achieved through transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors. With good progress on components of only four of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, it is likely that most will be missed by the 2020 deadline. Loss of biodiversity is shown to be not only an environmental issue, but also a developmental, economic, security, social and moral issue as well.

What does that mean for Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C)?

Spatial distribution of the world’s protected areas. March 2015: 217,300 protected areas from 238 countries and territories. Source: UNEP-WCMC 2014.

LT&C is basically a support organisation of the Aichi Target 11 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to achieve by 2020 a globally representative and well-managed network of protected areas, one of the key measures of sustaining the biodiversity on earth. Tourism, which thrives on using and marketing nature, national parks and other types of protected areas, should have an intrinsic interest to protect these main assets of their business. And, as there are many initiatives in sustainable, responsible and/or ecotourism in the world that support the establishment, management or the further development of (a) protected area(s), or a conservation initiative in a natural area, it is important that such examples are getting accelerated.

The mission of LT&C to promote such good examples (LT&C-Examples) and find ways how others can learn from and replicate them, is a better not underestimated hot topic. However, it will be important that much stronger post-2020 targets of the UN for protecting the biodiversity of the planet will be agreed next year. And the tourism industry then needs to be encouraged to play a much bigger role to achieve them.

LT&C celebrated its 5th Anniversary and outlined Post-2020 Strategy

Koenigstein/Taunus, February 22, 2019 

During the same month in 2014, “Linking Tourism & Conservation” (LT&C) was established and registered in Norway as a non-profit conservation organization with the mission to profile tourism that contributed to the global protected areas network. Now, five years later, a small group of founding Board members and other highly motivated “penguins” (in the photo) met in Koenigstein near Frankfurt/Main, Germany, to outline the future development of what is today an entirely voluntary organization. In relation to its small budget and lean administration, the achievements of LT&C are impressive. More than 300 competent and positive-minded members (known as penguins), distributed over all continents, have joined us; and, they are our main asset and the reason for our credibility. They represent both realms – tourism and conservation -and their backgrounds cover all levels of global society, from travellers and birdwatchers to tour companies and conservation NGOs up to UN organizations. They have identified and profiled 30 LT&C-Examples for replication, examples where tourism supports the establishment or development of national parks and other types of protected areas around the world.

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LT&C Workshop “How can Raet National Park be developed towards international standards?”

Raet, “verdens fineste nasjonalpark”, was the original vision of the “fathers” of the new marine national park on the Skagerrak-coast of Arendal, Grimstad, and Tvedestrand. At this workshop, we invite local LT&C members (including GRID-Arendal), “Friends of Raet National Park” (as found on Facebook), as well as representatives of such tourism businesses, which are interested to support the further positive development of the park. Also, marine experts from the local Flødevigen Marine Research Station as well as the manager of Raet national park, Jenny Marie Gulbrandsen, are invited to think with us about ideas, how Raet could at least become the leading example of a marine national park in Norway by developing towards international standards.

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Giorgio Scala: “We should focus on a more positive approach”

Giorgio Scala, the CEO of the media company Deepbluemedia, is one of our Emperor Penguin-members, and as an official photographer of FINA (International Federation of Swimming), LEN (European Swimming Federation) and of the Italian and Russian Swimming Federations, he supports LT&C and has his own view on what the organization is about and its desired future development. As we are highly keen on listening to different voices and opinions of people that are interested in the development of LT&C (see also the outcome of our recent 5th-anniversary meeting), Peter Prokosch had the chance to conduct an interview with Giorgio:

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LT&C invited to co-organise a Roundtable discussion “Ecotourism and protected areas” at Northern Sustainable Development Forum

The Northern Forum has invited LT&C for its upcoming  Northern Sustainable Development Forum to co-organise a roundtable discussion on “Ecotourism and protected areas”. The event is taking place September 24-28 in Yakutsk, Sakha Republic, Russia. The Forum seeks to become one of the world’s leading platforms for discussing the issues and prospects of sustainable development of the Arctic and the North and implementing relevant projects on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development throughout the circumpolar Arctic. More information about the event you find on the LT&C calendar.

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Again LT&C-Examples among the World’s Top 10 Sustainable Destinations as unveiled at ITB

As LT&C Partner Green Destinations reports: The World’s Top 10 Sustainable Destinations have been unveiled in the Awards Hall of ITB Berlin, at the end of its Opening day, March 6th. 44 Sustainable tourism stories have been submitted by the 100 top-sustainable destinations, available on www.sustainabletop100.org. Ten Award winners have been selected by a Jury representing 12 international organizations. 

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10-Year Anniversary World Heritage Wadden Sea celebrated at ITB

The LT&C Example Wadden Sea celebrates the 10-year anniversary of its inscription on the World Heritage List and presents its anniversary programme at this year’s ITB Tourism Fair in Berlin. In cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme and within the framework of the Interreg project Prowad Link”, the Wadden Sea World Heritage organizes two stands at the world’s largest tourism fair, the ITB. Under the motto “People. Protecting. Places.” (see press release of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat).

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Green Destinations

Green Destinations is a non-profit foundation for sustainable tourism, leading a global Partnership of expert organisations, companies, and academic institutions. We work for the benefit of the Green Destinations Community: destination representatives and stakeholders. Together with them, we try to make their places better and more sustainable.

Green Destinations developed a complete, affordable and easy-to-use Assessment & Certification programme that fits the needs of both small and larger destinations. It is operated through an online Assessment & Reporting platform based upon the GSTC-Recognised Green Destinations Standard and the GD Database with data from 2000 destinations. The platform helps destinations to improve sustainability management and performance, best price guaranteed. For more information, read more about our Awards & Certification. Destinations that subscribe to the GD Assessment & Reporting platform become member of the Green Destinations Community.

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LT&C at ITB in Berlin when the Sustainable Top 100 Destination will be awarded

Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C), as a partner of Green Destinations, will be present at ITB in Berlin when for the second year, the ‘Best of Top 100’ will be unveiled.  This is a selection of the finest Top 100 destinations based on jury-reviewed sustainability success stories submitted by the Top 100 destinations.

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Interview with Sarah O. Hameed from Marine Conservation Institute on “Global Ocean Refuges” and relation to LT&C

The creation of a marine-protected area is only the start of an effective conservation effort, not the end.” – The New York Times, Editorial Board, February 15, 2014

In the context of today’s global ocean crisis involving overfishing, climate change, industrialization, pollution and habitat destruction, Marine Conservation Institute launched the Global Ocean Refuge System to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030. The Global Ocean Refuge System is an innovative strategy aiming to encourage decision makers to establish protected areas that safeguard marine life and promote opportunities for sustainable tourism.

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Congratulating LT&C-member Greg Bakunzi from Rwanda for receiving UNWTO Award

We congratulate our Emperor Penguin member, Greg Bakunzi from Rwanda, for receiving the UNWTO Award for his conservation and community supporting tourism. The UNWTO Awards are the flagship awards for the global tourism sector. They recognize the work of organizations and individuals around the world that positively impact and inspire the tourism sector through innovation and knowledge, in line with the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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Good News: Virunga National Park reopens February 15

Our Emperor Penguin member, Amahoro tours, just forwarded us the information of the Virunga Foundation that the Virunga National Park re-opens on the 15th of February! This comes after the park was indefinitely closed in May 2018, due to tragic incidents as we wrote earlier. The Virunga National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site and an outstanding LT&C-Example, especially known for its thriving mountain gorilla population. Thanks to the dedication of the park’s rangers and wardens, Virunga has been able to survive. Thereby the cooperation of the Virunga Foundation with the governmental parks authority ICCN played a key role. Their work to provide unique opportunities for tourists to experience the natural wonders of the park made travelers not only financing the management and infrastructure of the national park but also triggers other financial contributions the surrounding communities benefit from.

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