The Countdown 2010 network met in Hanoi this August to discuss how to honour the commitment that they had made to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Wiebke Herding from the IUCN Region of Europe and a representative from the Global Secretariat of Countdown 2010 shared best practices from European and African Countdown 2010 projects. She recommended that network participants prioritize their actions for the Countdown 2010 initiative. She also encouraged the group to be committed to safeguarding biodiversity as it is the right thing to do, it is important to encourage government officials to commit to specific targets, and that the Countdown 2010 initiative represents a window of opportunity to make real progress in conservation efforts.
Dr. Katherine Warner, Head of the IUCN Country Group for Viet Nam, Lao PDR and Cambodia, summarized the cross-cutting themes that pose a threat to biodiversity in Southeast Asia, focusing on the necessity for improved broad understanding of biodiversity issues.
Over exploitation of natural resources, institutional weakness, unsustainable infrastructure, and the lack of environmental awareness were identified in the workshop as the main challenges that impede the reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss in the Lower Mekong Hub.
The workshop proposed that platforms on biodiversity for the Lower Mekong Hub be established, to coordinate the exchange of research information and implementation of strategies in order to address these constraints. It was also suggested that strong communication links between all stakeholders in the region should be implemented.
The consultation workshop represents an important step towards ensuring communication and progressive action from Countdown 2010 signatories in the Lower Mekong Region.
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