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Save Biodiversity 05/06 - Update from Countdown 2010

In this Issue

^Dear Countdown 2010 Partners, dear Readers,

Do you hear the clock ticking? Four years and sixty days are left to reach the 2010 biodiversity target. This is remarkable as today is halftime: It's exactly four years and sixty days today since the 2010 biodiversity target was adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. So, are we on the right track?

I would say yes: Since 2002, we've gained some understanding about the causes and dynamics of biodiversity loss, we've written roadmaps and action plans, and built partnerships with a lot of new actors. This issue focusses specifically on the headway we're making on the partnership front.

But being on the right track does not mean we're going to reach the target: Progress has been slow, and though we've got plenty of good plans, they are too often not implemented or not adequately financed.

One example for this is the current disagreement between the European Commission and Parliament about the financing of LIFE+ and thus Natura 2000.

Enjoy reading!

Sebastian Winkler

Sebastian Winkler
Head of Countdown 2010

November 2, 2006

^Many small steps: Building Partnerships for Biodiversity

That’s the spirit of Countdown 2010: Saving biodiversity many small steps at the same time, with a joint direction. Taking on habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, climate change and overexploitation is not an easy task, and this is why we need as many minds, hands and feet as possible. Here’s an overview about how Countdown 2010 has helped to build new partnerships on biodiversity. Since the last newsletter two months ago, nearly fifty new partners joined Countdown 2010. How about you: When did you last recruit a new Countdown 2010 partner?

^Wanted: A new vision for nature in Europe

Biodiversity is the foundation of economic and social welfare, more than 200 members of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) concluded at the recent European Members Meeting in Barcelona. After discussing issues from the European Commission’s Biodiversity Communication via communicating nature to the next quadrennial programme of the Union, a whole day was dedicated to Countdown 2010 and the challenges of saving biodiversity by 2010. A signing ceremony at the end of the conference welcomed 24 new partners to Countdown 2010. After Finland, the Netherlands and Hungary, Estonia was the fourth European country to join Countdown 2010 in only two months.

^Global challenges, and European responsibilities

Give poor people more control over natural resources to reduce poverty and achieve the sustainable use of biodiversity – that is one of the strongest statements of the “Message from Paris”. This outcome document from the Conference on “Biodiversity in European Development Cooperation” outlined four ways forward for biodiversity and development aid, and will be presented to the European Council in December. In the run-up to the conference, a background-paper had analysed the rationale of linking biodiversity and development cooperation, and assessed the current situation.

The Finnish Presidency used the occasion of the conference to join Countdown 2010, and will not only use its presidency for the follow-up of the Paris Conference, but have also committed to put the European Commission’s Biodiversity Communication on the agenda for the Council Meetings on Agriculture, Competiveness and Environment. A joint project of the Finnish government with the Peruvian government will conserve biodiversity in the Amazon, and the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy will focus on youth and biodiversity at their meeting in Helsinki this month.

^Global challenges, global approaches

While Europe is discussing its responsibility for biodiversity loss globally, a number of partnerships on the 2010 biodiversity target is emerging on the international level. For the first time, the heads of the biodiversity related agencies met this September to discuss their joint responses to the 2010 biodiversity target. As a result of the meeting, the agencies have started to develop a joint communication strategy to raise the profile of the challenge and invite others to join.

On October 2nd, the UN General Assembly took note of Kofi Annan’s report proposing to include the 2010 biodiversity target in the Millennium Development Goals.

Last, but not least, the Countdown 2010 Secretariat currently invites proposals for the creation of regional Countdown 2010 hubs in Asia, Africa and Latin-America. Please send your contributions to by 15 November 2006.

^Local action on biodiversity

Municipalities from all five Nordic countries working to implement the 2010 biodiversity target got together last week in Oslo to share experiences and plan joint action. Projects presented ranged from reclamation of wetlands to the restoration of forests. In their presentations, Brett Barnett from the Countdown 2010 Secretariat and Natasja Hulst from the European Centre for Nature Conservation shared experiences from the Dutch and European perspectives.

The Countdown 2010 Secretariat is continuing its drive to focus on the implementation gap of the 2010 Biodiversity target by focusing on supporting action at a local level. In the month of October, eight new local municipalities from the Netherlands and Spain have joined the initiative with many more expected to join in the coming months.

Additionally, a new Dutch funded project will be starting in December focusing on Local and Regional Authorities. The project, based on the three Countdown 2010 pillars of Communications, Partnership and Assessment, will aim at documenting and sharing good practices from regional and local activities vis-à-vis implementation of the 2010 biodiversity target.

^State of Biodiversity: What we know, and what we may do about it

Studies frequently confirm that biodiversity is being lost at unprecedented rates. But where does all this data come from? How can we use it to develop better policies? The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a major effort by 1.400 scientists, provided a conceptual framework for understanding biodiversity loss and synthesised existing data. Now, a number of leading scientists is calling for the establishment for a permanent mechanisms of scientific expertise on biodiversity, similar to the Intergovernmental panel on climate change. The French government currently funds a consultative process on this. You can make your voice heard on their website. What do you think: What data do you need? How could this be useful for policy making?

^Do it yourself: Use Countdown 2010 Communication Material to promote the 2010 biodiversity target

What is biodiversity? Why is it important? How is it in danger? What do we need to do about it? If you have ever found yourself struggling to answer these questions in clear and simple words, we've got something for you. To make it easier for you to explain the case for saving biodiversity, the Countdown 2010 Secretariat has produced an array of communication material for your use. You can order copies via email from or download them from the Countdown 2010 website.

Also available are pins, keychains and stickers with the logo. We would like to offer these materials in other languages as well. Can you help us translating them?

^Internal: Countdown 2010 Executive Group Changes Name

The new name Advisory Board is better suited to mirror its functions, the Countdown 2010 Executive Group decided at their 6th meeting on October 5 in Brussels. The role of the Advisory Board is to provide strategic guidance and oversee the achievement of the programme of Countdown 2010. At the same time, a Partners’ Assembly would take over the role of the former Steering Group of providing a forum for all partners of Countdown 2010. The next Partner’s Assembly will be taking place in May 2007.

Members of the Advisory Board are appointed by the Secretariat, based on proposals by the Partners’ Assembly. Current members are: Alistair Gammell (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), Graham Bennett (Syzygy Consulting), Elroy Bos (World Conservation Union), Sue Collins (English Nature), Rob Maessen (Province of Noord-Brabant), Carlos Martin-Novella (Spanish Ministry of the Environment), Sylvi Ofstad Samstag (Norwegian Ministry of the Environment), Georg Schwede (WWF International), Despina Symons (European Bureau for Conservation & Development), Rob Wolters (European Centre for Nature Conservation), Guy Duke (European Commission) and Marina von Weissenberg (Finnish Presidency of the European Union).

^Focus on... the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM)

The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) was established in 1991 and presently has over 2300 members representing local authorities, government agencies, industry, environmental consultancy, teaching/research, and NGOs. It has five objectives:

  • Advancing the science and practice of EEM
  • Furthering the conservation, enhancement, maintenance and supports systems of biospheres
  • Furthering environmentally sustainable management and development
  • Promoting and encouraging education, training, study and research EEM
  • Establishing, upholding and advancing the standards of education, qualification, competence and conduct of practitioners of EEM

As part of its commitment to support the 2010 biodiversity target, IEEM will be holding several conferences in 2006 through 2007. It will also be actively promoting the 2010 target via its website, in-house magazine and through other outlets, as well as through many other activities.

Upcoming Events

13-17 November
European Development Days (Brussels, Belgium)
23-24 November
International Symposium
Building the governance of sustainable development
(Annemasse, France)
13-15 December
Expert Workshop on implementing the CBD (Potsdam, Germany)

News from Countdown 2010

20/10/06: Towards 2010 and Beyond – a vision for European Nature

11/10/06: Dutch Countdown Initiative marks milestone to 2010

11/10/06: Finland starts Countdown 2010 Competition

04/10/06: Let Austrian Biodiversity Survive!

29/09/06: Hungary joins Countdown 2010: From international commitments to national action

21/0906: Finland and Peru endorse the Countdown 2010 initiative to halt the loss of biodiversity

19/09/06: Saving Biodiversity to Fight Poverty: Live reports from Paris

15/09/06: Playful Biodiversity

More news

New Partners

Countdown 2010 would like to welcome its new partners:

You want to join as well? See here or speak to the Secretariat!

Communication Material





More Resources

For more information please contact or visit

This newsletter is issued bi-monthly by Countdown 2010. We welcome comments and feedback to Wiebke Herding. Previous issues of this newsletter can be found at

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