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Celebrating a Decade of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems: From Vision to Global Impact

21 / May / 2024RLE Methodology

Celebrating a Decade of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems: From Vision to Global Impact

Ten years ago, on May 21st, 2014, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) made a historic decision during its 83rd Council session in Gland, Switzerland: the formal adoption of the Red List of Ecosystems as a global standard.

The journey began in 2007, with initial discussions on developing a global standard to assess ecosystem risk. By 2013, extensive collaboration among over a hundred experts led to the publication of the 'Scientific Foundations for an IUCN Red List of Ecosystems', solidifying the Categories and Criteria for assessing risk of ecosystem collapse, which were adopted by IUCN the following year. 

Over the past decade, global efforts have resulted in the assessment of more than 4,200 ecosystems across 120 countries, with comprehensive terrestrial assessments in over 60 nations. These efforts transcend mere statistics—they drive meaningful change. These assessments have catalyzed legislative actions, effective management of protected areas, informed decision-making, and heightened public awareness. 

In December 2022, the Red List of Ecosystems received further validation as it was chosen as a headline indicator indicator for the UN Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), particularly for Goal A, which focuses on the maintenance and restoration of biodiversity, encompassing ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity. This recognition underscores the Red List of Ecosystems framework's importance in systematically collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing ecosystem data, including distribution, integrity, and risk of collapse. It has broadened its influence across various landscapes and strengthened the collaboration between researchers and policymakers.

A decade since its inception, remains a vital tool, providing crucial insights for navigating our dynamic world.

Written by: Emy Miyazawa

Style and format: Irene Zager




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