2011: The Year in Biodiversity
The first year of the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity was a busy one for Ecosystem Marketplace—including the launch of the Species Banking.com and an update to the State of Biodiversity Markets report. Here are the highlights from Ecosystem Marketplace’s coverage of a busy year—as well as a chance for you to weigh in on the top stories of the year.
The first year of the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity was a busy one for Ecosystem Marketplace—including the launch of the Species Banking.com and an update to the State of Biodiversity. Here are the highlights from Ecosystem Marketplace’s coverage of a busy year—as well as a chance for you to weigh in on the top stories of the year.
30 December 2011 | The theme of standardization took center stage in the first months of the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity. In March, SpeciesBanking.com announced it was going global to provide coverage of biodiversity financing mechanisms from around the world.
That same month, Ecosystem Marketplace examined mechanisms under development by the Willamette Partnership to at least deliver uniformity across borders, which will make for more efficient markets – and mitigation. In April, we took a look at efforts to unify biodiversity banking standards across Australia and New Zealand.
In May, the dual forces of optimism and despair converged in Baltimore. On the one hand, we saw overflow attendance at the National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference; on the other, we saw evidence that government cut-backs were threatening not only to derail infrastructure improvements, but to slow the project approval process for mitigation banks.
In that spirit of mixed signals, the European Commission approved a new strategy for reversing biodiversity loss by 2020, in part by recognizing the economic value of nature’s services – but then they kicked the can down the road in June, when EU environment ministers approved a set of targets proposed to guide the European Commission’s new biodiversity strategy without the twenty concrete measures to implement them. Italy and Denmark refused to back even the targets, citing concerns about the biodiversity strategy’s cost and the targets’ lack of clarity. The new strategy comes on the heels of the EU’s failure to meet its goal of halting to biodiversity loss by 2010.
Later that month, Ecosystem Marketplace brought some positive news, with the release of a State of Biodiversity Markets report update, documenting more than $3 billion in biodiversity offsets in 2010 – a record year, despite (or perhaps because of) global economic turmoil.
In July, the UK announced it would begin piloting mitigation banks in 2012. A two-year pilot phase is planned with banking projects taking place on a voluntary basis, before kicking into a compliance regime in 2014.
That same month, Lydia Olander, Director of the Ecosystem Services Program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, launched a series of “discussions on how environmental markets might provide opportunities for landowners to combine multiple revenue stream for a single parcel of land. Leading programs are beginning to develop policy and pilots around “stacking” or combining ecosystem service payments or credits . It’s not yet clear, however, how multi-credit systems and stacking can best be implemented.
In September, Leaders in Latin America took steps to combine efforts to address today’s environmental conservation challenges. Coordinated by the Nature Conservancy, the Latin America Conservation Council brings together 34 of the region’s top business and political leaders to solve Latin America’s conservation challenges. The hope is that these council members will apply the same tactics in conservation efforts that they do in the business and political world.
In December, climate talks in Durban were a mixed bag for biodiversity. Though safeguards under REDD were watered down, a new tool released at the conference is aimed at helping project developers incorporate social and biodiversity safeguards. In a positive policy move, carbon contributions from peatlands were brought into international climate agreements—which means good news for protections of peatland bogs, though other types of wetlands were overlooked.
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