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29 July 2010 - HSI calls for establishment of an Asia-Pacific conservation program      

HSI calls for establishment of an Asia Pacific conservation program

Friday, 29 2010          

Humane Society International (HSI) has proposed to the government a new initiative – the Joseph Banks Initiative – which if implemented will lead to the development of a comprehensive regional biodiversity conservation program supported and implemented through the Development Assistance and national environment programs.

“Australia has no targeted programs directed at protecting regional Asia-Pacific biodiversity.  This year marks the United Nation’s International Year of Biodiversity and Australia has the capacity to lead the way in developing a strategy for tackling regional biodiversity conservation issues.” Said HSI’s director, Michael Kennedy.

HSI is proposing the Joseph Banks Initiative be a collaborative effort between Federal environment and international aid agencies, scientific experts and conservation NGOs.  One of the main aims of the Initiative would be to get needed support into the Asia-Pacific region quickly for protected area and buffer zone management, reserve development and dedication, actions to maintain populations of endangered species, public awareness, combating illegal wildlife trade, and biodiversity hotspot projects. These activities would include climate change adaptation programs.

“A new regional biodiversity conservation program would fill a significant gap in Australia’s development assistance program.” said HSI’s director, Michael Kennedy. 

Government has previously addressed biodiversity conservation through the highly successful Regional Natural Heritage Program (RNHP) but this program has been left to wither on the vine.   At present, other developed countries are showing far more commitment to biodiversity programs through development assistance. The Joseph Banks Initiative proposal can be found at http://bit.ly/azwDFo

Mr. Kennedy concluded that, “Within the region, Australia is a country with significant conservation capacity and expertise.  We should be able to match or exceed similar conservation aid programs administered by other developed countries like the UK and US.” 

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