GRASP Supports the Spain-UNEP LifeWeb Initiative

17th Dec 2010 Press Releases

Recognizing the importance of Protected Areas as a key tool for resource management and biodiversity conservation, the Government of Spain has initiated a strategic partnership with UNEP to provide €5 million to improve the impact and effectiveness of both new and existing Protected Areas, through direct management support and enhanced enabling conditions, such as support to policy processes, stakeholder participation and increased awareness of the benefits for livelihoods and ecosystems.

The GRASP Partnership will implement projects in Democratic Repulic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Liberia, Indonesia, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire. For further details, please visit the Spain-UNEP Partnership website.

Borchure - Spain-UNEP LifeWeb

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More than 15 protected areas, including one managing monk seals off  Mauritania to another in northern Sumatra that is home to orangutans; tigers and elephants, are being given a $6.8 million conservation boost.

Today the government of Spain and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced at the X Conference of the Parties of the Conventio on Biological Diversity in Japan a new partnership for protected areas under the LifeWeb initiative.

The partnership, supporting mainly low income and least developed countries, aims to deliver benefits not just for biodiversity but for communities living in and around protected areas.

For example, in the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some of the funds will support improved health services for local people.

In Panama and El Salvador, support to the Mesoamerican terrestrial protected areas will help develop innovative economic and legal instruments to promote sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems through their social and economic values, and the ecosystem services. Fire prevention is also addressed which is caused by inadequate agricultural practices.

The partnership will also support the establishment of new protected areas that in turn can generate new streams incomes for local people. For example the improvement of the existing connectivity within a network of marine and coastal protected areas as a tool to protect the sea turtle will be established in the West Africa region, specifically in Cote d’Ivoire; Guinea-Bissau; Guinea-Conakry and Senegal.

The growth in Protected Areas is one of the real success stories of conservation over the past half century. The challenge is to ensure that as many as possible of these around 100,000 sites are well-managed and in a way that maximizes livelihood and income opportunities for people alongside securing the biodiversity and economically-important ecosystems found at such important sites.

“Our government’s investment is aimed at achieving these triple win goals and realizing the opportunities at initially 11 demonstration projects on marine, coastal and terrestrial protected areas. In doing so, it is making a contribution to advancing the biodiversity targets and the poverty-related UN Millennium Development Goals”.

Achim Steiner, UN under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “I want to thank the Government of Spain for their leadership and support by investing in these nature-based asset—assets providing services such as water supplies, soil fertility and carbon storage worth trillions of dollars a year to local and indeed the global economy”.

“The evidence linking poverty eradication and protected areas is also emerging. A recent report by UNEP’s Green Economy team for example cited Costa Rica. Here wages and employment have risen and poverty been reduced since the protected area estate was expanded to some 26 per cent of the country’s land surface,” he said.

Mr Steiner cited other cases including from the UNEP-hosted, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), where investment in sustainable management are triggering dividends.

  • In Venezuela, investment in the national protected area system is preventing sedimentation that otherwise could reduce farm earnings by around US$3.5 million a year.
  • Investment in the protection of Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve is generating an annual of income of close to US$50 million a year, has generated 7,000 jobs and boosted local family incomes.

The Spain-UNEP Partnership for LifeWeb Initiative

The launch of the partnership was made today during the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 10th Conference of the Parties in Nagoya where progress on the 2010 Biodiversity Target committed to by the world’s governments will be reviewed, and other issues, including biodiversity and climate change, will be considered.

11 Projects supporting over 15 Protected Areas worldwide form part of the $6.8 million (Euro 5 million) partnership which will also include extending existing protected areas and creating new ones.

The Takamanda National Park in Cameroon, where funds will provide economic incentives to conserve the habitat of the rare Cross-River gorilla with benefits for curbing climate change linked with deforestation.

The Garamba and the Kazuhi-Biega National Parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo where funds will support improved conservation of various rare and endangered species including the Northern white rhino; chimpanzee; elephant and in Kazuhi-Biega the gorilla.

The Lossi Fauna Reserve and the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of the Congo where it is planned to boost tourism and thus income for local people alongside projects such as one in Lossi to improve public health through improved Ebola monitoring and one in Nouabalé-Ndoki to generate income by hiring locally-recruited park staff.

The Iles d’Orango National Park,  João Vieira-Poilão National Park, Rio Cacheu Mangroves Natural Park  in Guinea-Bissau, where funds will work to conserve threatened species such as manatee, sea turtles and migrating water birds alongside strategies to reduce harmful fishing.

Sea Turtles Marine Protected Areas Network in four West African countries through the reinforcement of conservation measures implemented to the sea turtles populations, considering the risks caused by the sea-level dynamics in littoral ecosystems and climate change effects.

Banc d’Arguin National Park in Mauritania where funds will support the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal and its associated habitats with the aim of the reinforcement of surveillance measures in the Satellite Reserve of Cap Blanc to implement a series of measures to maintain or re-establish favourable conservation status, the natural habitat of the seal, and the seal populations in the region together with public awareness activities in the marine protected areas, i.e. Satellite Reserve of  Cap Blanc and adjacent areas.

Gunung Leuser National Park in northern Sumatra, Indonesia where the support will include restoration of degraded habitats that support species including orangutan; rhinoceros and tiger.

Volcán Barú National Park in Panama, and La Montañona Conservation Area in El Salvador where the aim is developing the economic and legal mechanisms to increase the sustainable use of natural resources, and develop linkages among biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being on the basis of environmental and socio-economic values.

South and North-east Pacific and Wider Caribbean
Marine Mammal Corridors and Critical Habitat in the South and Northeast Pacific and the Wider Caribbean Regions is strengthening regional platforms for establishment marine spatial planning for marine mammals protection, and developing within the there regions an overview of essential habitats and regional-scale migration routes including socio-economic approaches.

About Life Web

The LifeWeb Initiative was launched in May 2008 during the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Bonn, Germany.

LifeWeb’s goal is to strengthen financing for protected areas to conserve biodiversity, secure livelihoods and address climate change, through implementation of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas. Developing countries and countries with economies in transition are invited to submit expressions of interest through Life Web to invite financial support for protected areas from development partners.

The governments of Finland, Germany and Spain are the principal donors to Life Web.

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