Creating International Conservation Guidelines

September 9, 2016

Environment Minister Cole Simons was invited by the Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN] to speak at their World Congress entitled ”Planet at the Crossroads” held in Hawaii this past week.

The congress, held once every four years, was attended by 9500 people directly involved in conserving nature through various multinational, government, private and non-profit sectors.

The Union is comprised of a membership of 1300 organisations and 16,000 experts and acts as a unique global environmental parliament dedicated to the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.

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Bermuda has been asked to play a leading role in defining a new series of international conservation guidelines for marine and terrestrial environments. This invitation was formally delivered to Minister Simons by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN].

“I believe that defining these conservation guidelines represents a unique opportunity to celebrate Bermuda’s present and historic conservation achievements,” Minister Simons said.

“The conservation discussion will take into account our healthy reefs, terrestrial parks and wreck dive sites, affording us future opportunities to generate funding for important science projects and the promotion of tourism.”

“Let me be clear: this exercise involves valuing other effective forms of conservation that we already have in practice and law – these may include our endemic species protections, some of our fisheries regulations, and our protected wreck sites, all of which protect nature but are not included in the definition of marine protected area or terrestrial national parks. It is about valuing what is successful about Bermuda’s terrestrial and marine environment in ways that will stimulate public awareness on the island.

The origin of this invitation to participate lies in the 2010 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. This global treaty whose signatories agreed to a target known as Aichi 11, famously set the world on course to protect 10 per cent of its coastal and marine areas by 2020.

The Minister expressed his gratitude to Professor Dan Laffoley of IUCN and Charles Clover of the Blue Marine Foundation for bringing this opportunity to his attention and working closely with him on this endeavour.

Minister Simons added, “The discussion about conservation measures will be new and internationally important. It puts Bermuda back in its rightful place as a leading player in the global conservation debate. It enables Bermuda and her people to celebrate and reinforce the protections for nature she already has.”

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