One day before the 1st ever UN Summit on Biodiversity convening world leaders, the Nature Conservation Center at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon (AUB-NCC) is proud to announce that it has joined the European Commission “United for #Biodiversity" Coalition. After the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco and the Natural History Museum of Brussels, AUB-NCC becomes the 3rd official member of the Coalition.
On the occasion of World Wildlife Day, the European Commission launched the new global coalition for biodiversity calling on all national parks, aquariums, botanic gardens, zoos, science, and natural history museums, then on World Biodiversity Day opened it to research centers. The Commission invites all institutions to join forces and raise their voice about the nature crisis, at a time science warns 1 million species are at risk of extinction. The campaign aims at building a stronger mobilization to raise awareness on the need to protect all forms of life, ahead of the upcoming COP-15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in China next year, when nations will adopt a new global framework to protect and restore nature. The Commission encourages national, regional, and local authorities, non-governmental organizations, businesses, scientists, and individual citizens to play their part. Since March, the Coalition received the support of 12 international organizations including the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), the European Network of Science Centers and Museums (ECSITE), the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI), and the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP). All endorsed the Coalition pledge and invited their members to do the same.
European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Protection and restoration of biodiversity would not only save the nature for future generations, but also help to tackle climate change and avoid negative consequences on our food, health, and economy. We urgently need to take global action, otherwise, our only chance of seeing nature is in the zoos and botanical gardens. That would be a failure of humankind."
As 1st research center joining the Coalition, we call on all our partners in the scientific community to join the movement. AUB-NCC will support the global coalition through outreach and by synergizing ongoing biodiversity conservation projects with the coalition's activities. AUB-NCC will also seek to engage its partners in Lebanon, the Middle East, and North Africa region, and the world to join forces and strengthen the goals of the coalition before and after the upcoming CoP 15. Alongside all members and supporters of the Coalition, expected to be 500 at the end of 2020, AUB-NCC is ready to do its part in the next stage of realizing the formidable and critical challenge of protecting Biodiversity.
Since 2002, AUB-NCC has been calling on scientists, citizens, businesses, communities, and the media to join expert teams in researching and developing creative approaches to biodiversity conservation. We have partnered with green investment funding organizations and created the phone application 'Daskara' and the crowdfunding platform 'Mashroo3' to contextualize nature within community heritage and to support community-driven sustainable development and socially driven enterprises. We work closely with media partners through our 'Environment Academy', and with universities through the annual student event 'IBDAA' (International Biodiversity Day At AUB) to advance the next generation of environmental changemakers. We are collaborating with universities and biosphere reserves around the Mediterranean 'EduBiomed' to advance research and teaching on UNESCO biosphere reserves. We have adopted IUCN tools to define Important Plant Areas of Lebanon, and ESP - Ecosystem Services Partnership approaches to influence policies and development that better serve people and nature through ecosystem services. We collaborate with the government to develop strategies to protect nature in archeological sites and with pharmaceutical companies to isolate and identify natural molecules with medicinal properties from native organisms. Finally, we are diligently tackling pollution by devising citizen science programs to mitigate air 'Smell Hazard Identification Map', water pollution 'Test the Water', and to better manage municipal solid waste 'MED-inA' and 'Btifroz'.
With this announcement, we encourage citizens and institutions, from Lebanon and beyond, to share the message and biodiversity-related activities through their social media channels using the hashtag #biodiversity2020 and reach out to coalition members for collaboration and volunteering opportunities. The European Commission's social media channels have a selection of information and activities to inspire you on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Official webpage of the Coalition: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/coalition/index_en.htm