Regional Initiatives

Assessing biodiversity at a regional level identifies the species that are most at risk and in the greatest need of conservation.

Regional initiatives are projects that assess biodiversity in a selected region such as Africa, Europe, India or the Mediterranean. By assessing the status of flora and fauna at a regional level, effective conservation action plans can be developed that will work for that region. Below is a selection of recent regional initiatives that have been supported by the IUCN Species Programme.


Oreochromis karongae. Endangered on the IUCN Red List.  Found in lake Malawi, East Africa

Africa - Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment

In 2005 the Freshwater Species programme received funding from the European Commission which supported a project that spent six years assessing the status of freshwater biodiversity throughout Africa.

The objectives of the project were the conservation and sustainable use of freshwater biodiversity throughout Africa in the face of widespread plans for large-scale water resource developments and safeguarding the livelihoods of millions of people in Africa who depend upon the goods and services provided by biodiversity in inland waters.

The project assessed the status of 4,989 freshwater species and found that 21% are threatened. The project also demonstrated how the data could be integrated into environment and development planning and created an online interactive map of Africa’s river and lake sub-catchments that can be used to help minimize the impact of future developments on freshwater species and protect this valuable resource.

The reports of the African Freshwater assessment are available to download here.

European peacock butterfly

European Red List

The European Red List is an on-going review of the conservation status of European species.

To date, 5,872 species of mammals, amphibians, freshwater fishes, butterflies, dragonflies and selected groups of beetles, molluscs and vascular plants have been assessed by IUCN and the European Commission following IUCN Regional Red List Guidelines.

The initiative identifies species that are threatened with extinction in Europe so that conservation can be taken to improve their status. Pollinators (such as bees and bumblebees) and medicinal plants are the next groups of species that will be assessed by the European Red List project.

European Red List publications are available to download here.

Disparoneura apicalis, a Vulnerable species of dragonfly from the Western Ghats

India - Freshwater Biodiversity Assessments in the Western Ghats

The Western Ghats region is considered to be a biodiversity hotspot but it is under huge pressure from the 400 million people that live in the area.

A two year project funded by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) assessed the status of 1,146 species of freshwater fishes, molluscs, odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) and aquatic plants in the Western Ghats region of India.

The project raised awareness of the importance of the regions freshwater ecosystems and identified that 16% of species were threatened with extinction. The information gathered was used to make recommendations of actions that are required to protect the biodiversity of the Western Ghats region which would in turn support the ecosystem services used by the people living in the region.

The report is available to download here.

Medoffice, Mediterranean, Island, Plants, Mediterranean Island Plants, IUCNMed, Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, Red List, Top50, Centaurea akamantis

Mediterranean Red List

The Mediterranean Red List is an on-going review of the conservation status of Mediterranean species.

The region is considered to be a biodiversity hotspot and 60% of plant species in the region are unique to the area. The assessment identifies species that are threatened in the Mediterranean so that action can be taken to protect and conserve them.

To date, more than 2,000 species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, endemic freshwater fishes, cartilaginous marine fishes, cetaceans and dragonflies have been assessed using the Red List Regional Guidelines.

The Mediterranean Red List publications are available to download here.

Latest Regional Initiatives News

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Fishing on Lake Kosi in St Lucia, South Africa
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