More than 350 of the planet’s most important sites for nature are threatened with being lost forever according to a new report by BirdLife International. Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are places of international significance for the conservation of the world’s birds and other nature, with more than twelve thousand having been identified worldwide, including 122 in South Africa.
The IBAs are the largest and most comprehensive global network of important sites for nature conservation. Now, 356 of these – known as ‘IBAs in Danger’ – have been identified in 122 countries and territories as being in imminent danger of being lost. Of those, ten are in South Africa, of which only two are legally protected, which highlights the importance of improving the management effectiveness of protected areas.
IBAs in Danger provide focus for governments, development agencies, international environmental and conservation conventions, business and wider civil society to act to prevent the further damage or loss of these sites of international significance”, said Melanie Heath, BirdLife’s Director of Science, Policy and Information.
“Collectively we must work to mitigate these threats, strengthen the implementation of national and local laws and policies ensuring environmental safeguards are implemented at the earliest stages of development, and enhancing the management of these sites”, says Heath.