Sunday, April 3, 2011

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN was founded in October 1948 as the International Union for the Protection of Nature (or IUPN) following an international conference in Fontainebleau, France. The organization changed its name to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1956 with the acronym IUCN (or UICN in French and Spanish). Use of the name “World Conservation Union”, in conjunction with IUCN, began in 1990. From March 2008 this name is no longer commonly used.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network - a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries.

IUCN’s work is supported by more than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. The Union’s headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, Switzerland

IUCN at a glance
A unique membership association
Founded in 1948 as the world’s first global environmental organization
Today the largest professional global conservation network
A leading authority on the environment and sustainable development
More than 1,000 member organizations in 140 countries including 200+ government and 800+ non-government organizations
Almost 11,000 voluntary scientists and experts, grouped in six Commissions
More than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices worldwide
A neutral forum for governments, NGOs, scientists, business and local communities to find pragmatic solutions to conservation and development challenges.Thousands of field projects and activities around the world
Governance by a Council elected by member organizations every four years at the IUCN World Conservation Congress
Funded by governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, foundations, member organizations and corporations
Official observer status at the United Nations General Assembly

Recent News
IUCN in the process of assessing freshwater biodiversity of India
The freshwater biodiversity of the country is being assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is after a gap of 13 years that the freshwater biodiversity of the country, including fish, molluscs, insects and plants, is being assessed using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. The last such assessment was held in 1997.
     The list is considered a comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.
It has nine classifications namely extinct, extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, near threatened, least concern, data deficient and not evaluated.
It is estimated that only 13 of the 807 species of freshwater fish found in India have been assessed using the Red list criteria.

India to enlist endangered animal, plant species in Red list

New Delhi, Apr 3 (PTI) In a bid to strengthen its efforts at conservation of endangered plant and animal species, India has decided to initiate the Red listing process on regular basis. A high-level Environment Ministry panel has decided to bring its first report on the country's endangered species -- both plants and animals -- by the end of next year. "To begin with, two documents, one each on 'Red list of Indian Plants' and 'Red list of Indian Animals' would be released during the COP-11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held in New Delhi in October 2012," a Ministry document said. The Red listing process would follow the framework of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) regional guidelines and criteria, it said. The document was prepared by the 10-member steering committee, chaired by Jagdish Kishwan, Additional Director General of Forests (Wildlife). Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) would be the focal points for the Red listing of plant and animal species, respectively. The Ministry decided to carry out the Red listing process on a regular basis to end the "paucity of information for the general public on the status, biology and major threats to the endangered species" of the country, which has a staggering variety of flora and fauna. Many organisations are working independently in the country on the Red listing process. The Ministry would provide necessary coordinating mechanism to integrate the efforts of scientific and voluntary organisations into a scientifically acceptable useful output. "The directors of BSI and ZSI would co-opt as many experts -- both individuals and organisations -- as required, to form a core group, each for plants and animal species separately for completion of the Red listing exercise within the stipulated time period," the document said. The Steering Committee would monitor and guide the process of Red listing and the divisions concerned of the Ministry would allocate necessary budgetary provisions for undertaking the exercise. Last month, the Ministry in collaboration with the ZSI, had released a comprehensive document on 'Critically Endangered Animal Species of India'. As per the latest (2011) quantitative evaluation done by the IUCN, there are 57 critically endangered species of animals in India.

Dhamra Port Project

Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings at Rushikulya, Orissa, India in April 2009.
Promoting Corporate Environmental Responsibility in India
The agreement between IUCN and The Dhamra Port Company Limited (DPCL), a joint venture of Tata Steel and Larsen & Toubro, is an encouraging step forward in promoting corporate environmental responsibility. This acquires even greater importance given the proximity of the port in relation to one of the world’s most important mass-nesting beaches for olive ridley turtles. Given the Tata Group’s commitment to environmental preservation, IUCN believes that engaging with DPCL, in an effort to integrate the highest of environmental standards into the port development and operations, is an exemplary model of contemporary conservation in action.

IUCN and DPCL, signed an agreement in 2007 with the aims of:
  • Avoiding, minimizing and mitigating the impacts of Dhamra Port development on turtles and compensating or off-setting any residual impact that cannot be avoided or reasonably mitigated;
  • Improving the project’s performance in other aspects of environment, e.g. terrestrial environment as affected by the access roads, railway lines and other secondary developments; and
  • Contributing to raising national and global standards for environmentally responsible development of mega projects.
Current initiatives

In addition of serving as secretariat of IUCN India National Committee, the current activities of India programme include:

The Livelihoods and Landscapes Strategy (LLS) is a leverage programme to catalyze the sustainable use and conservation of forest biodiversity and ecosystem services for the benefit of the rural poor.

Mangroves for the Future (MFF ) initiative, which will address long term threats to coastal ecosystems and livelihoods and which will promote investment in conserving coastal ecosystems as development ‘infrastructure’.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  provides taxonomic, conservation status and distribution information on plants and animals that have been globally evaluated using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. This system is designed to determine the relative risk of extinction, and the main purpose of the IUCN Red List is to catalogue and highlight those plants and animals that are facing a higher risk of global extinction (i.e. those listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable). The IUCN Red List also includes information on plants and animals that are categorized as Extinct or Extinct in the Wild; on taxa that cannot be evaluated because of insufficient information (i.e., are Data Deficient); and on plants and animals that are either close to meeting the threatened thresholds or that would be threatened were it not for an ongoing taxon-specific conservation programme (i.e., are Near Threatened).
IUCN Red List categories


IUCN Protected Area Categories System

Through its World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), IUCN have developed seven Protected Area Management Categories that define protected areas according to their management objectives and are internationally recognised by various national governments and the United Nations.

The categories provide international standards for comparing the protected areas in different countries and encourage the planning of protected areas under management aims. 

The categories are:

Ia----- Strict Nature Reserve; 
Ib----- Wilderness Area;
II------ National Park; 
III----- Natural Monument of Feature; 
IV----- Habitat/Species Management Area; 
V----- Protected Landscape/ Seascape and; 
VI---- Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources

Blog Archive