Larger than Tigers: Inputs for a strategic approach to biodiversity conservation

Larger than Tigers: Inputs for a strategic approach to biodiversity conservation

Asia is home to over half of the world's population and almost one fifth of its land mass. At the same time, Asia has rich terrestrial, marine and freshwater biodiversity, which is facing rapid and big changes due to economic growth, with a large number of emblematic species on the brink of extinction.

On 22 May - the International Day of Biological Diversity, at the beautiful venue of the Library Solvay in Brussels, the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) presented the second -and much awaited- synthesis report focused on biodiversity conservation in Asia, Larger than Tigers.  

Director General Stefano Manservisi presented the synthesis report highlighting the richness of Asian biodiversity. The other two speakers who enriched the debate were Mr Joe Walston - Vice President for Field Conservation for WCS and Mr Sugoto Roy - Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme Coordinator at IUCN. IFAW contributed to the report by providing comments, referencing in particular our work to reduce ivory trade in China.

The report identifies the main threats in the region, which are habitat loss and degradation, and over-exploitation and illegal wildlife trade. It highlights that over 5,000 species of wild plants and animals are known to be used and traded across Asia, from the emblematic species (elephants, tigers etc.) to the less mentioned but endangered sea cucumbers, manta rays and also flora - such as rosewood and agarwood. Despite numerous actions ongoing to tackle this issue, the Commission acknowledges that those still need to be further scaled up in order to improve enforcement and encourage cooperation between wildlife specialists and enforcement agencies. IFAW welcomes also the mention of and the key role that civil societies, along with governments and communities, should play to fight illegal wildlife trade.

In addition, the study aims at providing inputs to guide a strategic approach to biodiversity conservation in Asia and suggests useful information and analysis in support of a strategic approach to halting environmental degradation and biodiversity loss in the region. Ultimately, according to the European Union Biodiversity for Life (B4Life) initiative steered by DG DEVCO, it will further help the EU and partners to make cognizant decisions when developing policies, plans and programmes at all levels.

Larger than Tigers follows the publication of “Larger than Elephants”, which was published two years ago and focused on Africa.

You can find the synthesis report here. DG DEVCO will publish a more extensive report in the following weeks.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
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