Mobilizing society to support biodiversity

As Countdown 2010 initiative closes, local coordinated actions show way to solving the global biodiversity crisis.

IUCN’s Countdown 2010 initiative officially closes today in Nagoya by revealing the best efforts of more than 1,000 organizations around the world to save biodiversity. The ceremony is being held on 20 October 2010 at 8.10 pm at the 10th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity being held in Nagoya, Japan.

“Countdown 2010 has brought together more than 1,000 very diverse organizations to help conserve biodiversity,” says Dr Bill Jackson, IUCN Deputy Director-General. “Countdown 2010 partners have shown, on the ground, how we can really stop biodiversity loss. These are the type of actions that need to be scaled up for us to make real progress globally by 2020.”

Over the past six years, more than 1,000 organizations – from cities and companies, to museums and community groups – have committed to help save biodiversity through Countdown 2010. Made in Countdown 2010, released today, highlights 20 of the best success stories, showing how Countdown 2010 partners have really made a difference for biodiversity.

Colombian agency Coralina takes top place for their efforts and will receive the Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Award at 20:10 today, in a special ceremony in Nagoya. Coralina, the Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providence and Santa Catalina, a department of Colombia in the Caribbean, wins for its efforts in establishing the Seaflower Marine Protected Area.

“It is an honour for us to receive this award today,” says Ms Elizabeth Taylor Jay, Coralina’s General Director. “We are very grateful to Countdown 2010 for helping promote our efforts. Coralina will continue its action after 2010 to protect and enrich the biodiversity of the archipelago”.

In just a few years Coralina has achieved remarkable results. Nominated to become a World Heritage site, its Seaflower Marine Park now covers more than 200,000 hectares of corals, mangroves and sea-grasses, helping protect 407 fish species, 102 corals, 130 sponges and many more species. Among this impressive list are 192 coastal-marine species listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

“Coralina’s work to meet their biodiversity commitment is outstanding,” adds Jackson. “Their actions, as for many other Countdown 2010 partners, will inspire future commitments to protect and invest in biodiversity”.

The Countdown 2010 initiative closes this year in Nagoya as the world’s governments discuss biodiversity targets and plans beyond 2010. IUCN plans to launch a new Countdown initiative early next year to continue fostering local biodiversity commitment and action, and to help scale these up globally.

Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, states that "Countdown 2010 has made a significant contribution to putting biodiversity at the top of humankind’s priorities and we are delighted to count on this unique network to achieve the Aichi Nagoya 2020 target".

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Nicki Chadwick, IUCN Media Relations Officer, mobile +41 79 528 3486, +81 80 3462 3552
Liza Drius, IUCN Communications Officer, mobile +81 80 6566 0863

About Countdown 2010
Countdown 2010 is a unique time-bound initiative that brings together actors from a wide range of sectors to collaborate and develop a coherent approach to reach the 2010 Biodiversity Target. Nearly 1,100 partners including governments, NGOs, international institutions and agencies, companies and local authorities have committed to taking direct action to save biodiversity. Countdown 2010 Secretariat works together with its partners to build the momentum towards the Target and chart the way forward beyond 2010.

About the 2010 Biodiversity Target
More than one decade after the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the recognition of biodiversity loss has gained high political profile both at global, national and regional levels. This has resulted in ambitious commitments for action by heads of states, initiated in 2001 in the European Union and later taken up by world leaders 6th Conference of the Parties (COP 6) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2002.

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