From: The World Conservation Union
Published September 27, 2007 08:09 AM

China Starts Countdown To Save Biodiversity By 2010

As the rate of biodiversity loss accelerates worldwide, civil society organizations and governments are joining forces to fight the global extinction crisis.  On September 7 in Beijing, twenty Chinese and international organizations signed the Countdown 2010 declaration, committing themselves to additional efforts to reduce biodiversity loss by the year 2010. 

According to the 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, China has a "particularly large number" of species in danger of extinction.  China is also one of the world’s biologically richest countries.  At the Countdown 2010 Launch, organizations ranging from local Chinese NGOs to international organizations active in China to government-affiliated institutions joined together to declare their commitment to saving biodiversity in China.  With this decision, they honor the global 2010 biodiversity target, a commitment made by state representatives at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 to significantly reduce biodiversity loss by 2010.

Countdown 2010 is a network of active partners working together towards the 2010 biodiversity target.  Each partner commits to additional efforts to tackle the causes of biodiversity loss. The secretariat – hosted by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) – facilitates and encourages action, promotes the importance of the 2010 biodiversity target and assesses progress towards 2010.  Countdown 2010 now has hubs in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, and the establishment of a Countdown 2010 hub in China has been spearheaded by the IUCN China Program.

"We're excited to be bringing Countdown 2010 to China, one of the world's greatest storehouses of biodiversity," said Wiebke Herding, of the Countdown 2010 secretariat.  "Countdown 2010 is starting with an impressive array of organizations here.  I'm sure that by 2010 we'll see the positive impact of this network on China's biodiversity."

Prior to the Launch, a consultation was held with key partners to discuss how best to promote the 2010 biodiversity target in China. IUCN Chief Scientist Jeffrey A. McNeely led discussion on monitoring progress towards the 2010 biodiversity target, while others discussed communications challenges, civil society capacity needs, and the necessity of effective information exchange, offering concrete suggestions for potential actions to be taken by Countdown 2010 and partners.

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At the Launch ceremony, McNeely underscored the global importance of China's unique natural heritage, calling on the audience to consider a number of potential responses to the challenge of conserving this natural heritage on the road to 2010.  The Countdown 2010 in China website, a bilingual platform for sharing information on China’s biodiversity and partners’ conservation efforts, was also made public.

For more information about Countdown 2010 in China please contact:

Rachel Wasser, Princeton in Asia Fellow, IUCN China Programme, Tel: (+86) 10-85322699 ext. 103; Email: rachelwassernoneiucn.org.cn

And visit our website: www.countdown2010.net/china

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