|Delegates attend a session at the BirdLife International World Congress|
Last week, Canada hosted one of the world's greatest gatherings of conservation leaders. The 2013 BirdLife International World Congress took place in Ottawa from June 19-22. Conservationists, politicians, and businesspeople from more than 120 countries attended. Special guests included HIH Princess Takamado of Japan, Margaret Atwood, and Graeme Gibson. Participants discussed global threats to biodiversity and the environment, and shared expertise and innovative solutions.
Birds are excellent indicators of environmental change. Declines of some species clearly reflect the pressures human activities are putting on the world's biodiversity. The third edition of State of the World's Birds was launched at the Congress. The report explains that bird populations – and overall ecosystem health – are declining around the world. But there is good news: conservation works. The annual cost of protecting all nature would be surprisingly low. State of the World's Birds outlines where and how that money should be spent.
BirdLife's two Canadian partners, Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada, co-hosted the Congress. "This is a very exciting time for Canada. We have a fantastic opportunity to showcase the strength and success of our bird conservation work, and learn from the experiences of our partners," said Dr. George Finney, President of Bird Studies Canada. Ian Davidson, Nature Canada's Executive Director, said: "Through 'the power of many,' the BirdLife World Congress is an important chance to forge new partnerships and build long-term strategies to address some of the planet's toughest conservation challenges."
Congress sessions featured the Important Bird Areas Program and several other key global BirdLife initiatives. Achievements of the "Forests of Hope" and "Global Seabird" Programs were highlighted, as well as the relatively new "Local Empowerment" and "Invasive Alien Species" projects.
BirdLife International is the largest and fastest-growing partnership of national conservation organizations. "This gathering brings together the people who make conservation happen – not just for nature, but for the human communities that depend on it. The atmosphere will be energizing, challenging, and inspiring," said BirdLife International Chairman Peter Schei.
Generous support for the 2013 BirdLife World Congress has been provided by Platinum Sponsors Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation, Arcadia, the Hima Fund, MAVA, Rio Tinto, Swarovski Optik, and the Government of Canada (Parks Canada and Environment Canada).
More media on the Congress:
- A round-up of the event in photos
- State of the World's Birds - CBC television
- Report paints precise picture of global bird decline - The Globe and Mail
- 1 in 8 birds threatened by extinction - CBC News
- Birds of a feather making peace together - Huffington Post Canada