HSI welcomes publication of Australias Revised Biodiversity Conservation Strategy
Humane Society International (HSI) has today welcomed the publication of the Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030 and is particularly pleased at the inclusion within the strategy of targets to guide action.
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, and the Convention of Biological Diversity are currently meeting in Japan to discuss targets to halt biodiversity loss for the next 10 years, having failed to halt biodiversity loss by the previous target of 2010.
HSI’s Senior Program manager, Alexia Wellbelove stated, “With this in mind, and Australia’s biodiversity crisis showing no signs of abating, HSI believes that these targets could have gone further and been more ambitious. For example, there is no indication of how the Commonwealth will move to give better protection Australia’s 3000 odd threatened ecological communities and countless species’ critical habitats. Additionally, no target dates are set post 2015 – longer-term targets must be attempted”
“It is now time for the Government to work actively to implement this new strategy, so that we can start to see the same priority being given to biodiversity as we do to water, population and climate change. We also urge the Minister to report annually to Parliament on progress in implementing the strategy and to establish a $20 million Biodiversity Policy and Coordination Branch that will ensure whole of Government adherence”.
HSI considers that in order to deliver the strategy there needs to be increased funding for biodiversity conservation significantly above monies currently allocated for biodiversity in Caring for our Country. HSI suggests for example that an extra $300 million is needed over 5 years just to help private land holders protect remnant vegetation.
Government will also need to develop innovative market based mechanisms for biodiversity conservation such as the use of carbon farming initiative and an ETS in longer term. HSI believes that the EPBC Act should be better funded and used more effectively especially for climate change mitigation/adaptation.
Ms Wellbelove concluded, “HSI hopes that the strategy will ensure the immediate implementation of the Government’s past biodiversity policy commitments, including the identification of climate refugia for species and a national network of whale and dolphin sanctuaries. The immediate reconstitution of a strong Biological Diversity Advisory Committee (BDAC) to advise Minister on effective implementation of the strategy is also critical, charging BDAC with the job of refining who, what, where and when these actions should be taken (and how they will be paid for)”.
While emphasis properly should go on conservation of Australia's own biodiversity, Australia also has a responsibility to assist poorer nations in region to conserve their biodiversity. HSI notes that there has been a welcome increase in funding for Australia's overseas aid program recently, and believes that a small proportion should be allocated to a regional biodiversity assistance program, just as Australia is helping Pacific countries with climate change adaptation, through the aid program.