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NEW BIRDLIFE INITIATIVE TO SUPPORT THE IBA CONSERVATION PROGRAMME

In November 2013 in its letter to IBA Programme Coordination and Implementation Team BirdLife Secretariat provided some updates about BirdLife networks and a new project launched by the Partnership.

The BirdLife Partnership has currently identified, mapped and described over 12,500 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in 226 countries or territories around the globe. Crucial to the conservation of these sites, and the wildlife they contain, is having accurate information about conservation issues, projects and activities; threats and pressures; biodiversity values; the effectiveness of management, the impacts of resource use and records of significant species. BirdLife maintains factsheets for each site, but they quickly become outdated, and as such, we need better ways to generate more immediate, up to date information about sites which can be rapidly shared.Our goal is to provide a mechanism which encourages observers visiting any IBA to record and submit their information in a convenient, rewarding and 'fun' way and to share that information with other users where appropriate.

BirdLife has networks which, given the tools and opportunity, could contribute to this challenge. The combined membership of the partnership is 13 million individuals. In total, the Partnership is working with over 7,400 local groups worldwide, including at 2,700 IBAs. Together this represents a massive community of interested, committed individuals, dedicated to the conservation of places that are special for nature. There is also an even bigger group of people who visit sites - to watch nature, as tourists, or in the course of their work.

BirdLife has launched a project which aims to use mobile phone technology to make it easier and more rewarding for people visiting, or living at, sites to receive and exchange information and to post their observations, both of species recorded and of other relevant site-focused information (threats, facilities). This will also help to create a community of users with a shared interest in the conservation of individual sites, or groups of sites in a particular region. You may well have seen a recent news story about this, and even participated in the survey which it announced (see http://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/news/important-bird-biodiversity-areas-going-mobile) - you can find a link to the survey in this news story - please feel free to participate.

Although this initiative is being coordinated globally, we believe the real value lies in the information it can provide, and generate, at national level. Indeed, we envisage the App being made available as a set of country-level downloads (supported by a global-level website) with national Partners having access to the raw data for analysis.

The project is being coordinated from the BirdLife Secretariat, as a joint initiative involving staff from the Information Management, Communications and Conservation and Livelihoods Divisions. If you have any comments on the project, or are involved with similar initiatives with which we might cooperate, please get in touch with David Thomas (david.thomas@birdlife.org).

Supported by: BirdLife International RSPB Darwin Initiative

© Compiled by Oleg Kashkarov
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Last modified: 16.01.2014