As the nations of the world come together to define the future of biodiversity at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) would like to present our perspective and priorities, drawing on three decades of experience delivering effective conservation and restoring wildlife in one of the world’s megadiverse countries.Download the Rewilding Australia project proposal
AWC’s mission – the effective conservation of all Australian animal species and their habitats – ties in closely with the 2030 mission of the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework: to halt and reverse biodiversity loss for the benefit of the planet and people.
AWC’s vision – to see a world where Australia’s biodiversity is valued and effectively conserved by an engaged community – reflects the 2050 vision of the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework to live in harmony with nature.
AWC would like to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of going beyond conserving and protecting at least 30% of Earth’s lands and oceans by 2030.
Setting aside or classifying an area for conservation on a map is inadequate. Meaningful, proactive land management must be delivered in these areas to restore and maintain biodiversity. Reintroducing locally extinct species (with ambitious programs like the one detailed in this document) is critical for restoring degraded ecosystems. Each species directly and indirectly contributes to the function of healthy ecosystems through complex interactions – modifying the landscape by, for example, digging and burrowing, dispersing seeds, preying upon (and being preyed upon by) other species, and moderating the cycle of nutrients.
Climate change must be considered in the planning and delivery of effective conservation management. The restoration of species and habitats needs to account for future climate scenarios. AWC’s rewilding program (detailed in the project proposal) incorporates strategic frameworks to help plan for an uncertain future. These frameworks will inform interventions to address threats on sanctuaries where species are extant, and to identify opportunities for assisted migration.
Conserving biodiversity is a global issue. AWC would like to emphasise that the responsibility for managing nature must go beyond governments. Private conservation and public-private partnerships need to be encouraged and the delivery of better outcomes for biodiversity incentivised. The biodiversity crisis is a global problem, and we must all continue to innovate and to rapidly and strategically scale up conservation action.
First Nations Peoples are central to conservation efforts in Australia and around the world. AWC works collaboratively with First Nations Australians across the country to implement conservation programs including prescribed burning and wildlife reintroductions. AWC wholeheartedly supports the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework assertion that the traditional knowledge, innovations, practices and decision-making of Indigenous peoples and local communities be included in governance and management of biodiversity.