Policy based action are essential for providing institutional supports, human and financial resources and legal framework is required to ensure effective species conservation. Frequently, such actions occur through development and implementation of legislation at national, sub-national levels or through international agreements.
Legislation is sometimes directed at protection, of particular species such as by regulating harvesting of individuals. Legislation promotes habitat protection, most noticeably through creation of protected areas and protect habitat by regulating land use patterns at a broader scale or through regulating anthropogenic activities.
Role of multilateral environmental agreements has grown during last decade as human impacts intensify and span across national boundaries more often. There are now more than 500 international treaties that concern the environments and most countries have ratified key international treaties. These agreements are a means to adopt harmonized approaches and resolves transboundary problems with neighboring status.
They increasingly offer access to worldwide knowledge tools and financial resources and they can give conservation agencies a stronger mandate domestically (Steiner et al., 2003). Nevertheless most conservation action takes place at national levels and national legal framework remains crucial in effective implementation of vast majority of conservation programmes.
Legislation is only useful, if adequately implemented and such implementation is lacking in many cases. Policy based actions are frequently implemented as a top down approach but their effectiveness in many cases hindered by inadequate involvement of local communities, who are direct users of biodiversity resources. Community management promotes a stewardship of natural resources, particularly when complemented by development of adequate livelihood alternatives.
Outstanding examples of community management can be found in web site of Equator initiative, a United Nations Development Programmes initiative designed to reduce poverty through conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in equatorial belt. Most species require a combination of several responses for adequately addressing particular ecological requirements and specific threats.
All conservation responses are not equally effective to all species. Some take longer time to produce effects than others. Knowing the response that work best with particular species is important for conservation decision. Notable exception being 2004 review of 5,500 key actions proposed for 1,186 threatened birds.
In 2000 Bird life international revealed that 67% species were covered with action implemented, even though full set of proposed action has been undertaken for only 5% species. All of the actions implemented have not benefited species directly. Conservation action frequently needs to be tailored to specific circumstances affecting particular species and supported by adequate knowledge on species. Monitoring the range and populations is needed for developing biodiversity indicators.
Data are needed on threats affecting species populations and on effectiveness of conservation measures. Increased stewardship of natural resources is urgently needed in communities in direct contact with particular threatened species, inhabitants of cities of those countries holdings these species and worldwide.
Over 70% of earth’s land surface could be affected by infrastructure developments like roads, mining, and cities in the next 30 years, unless urgent action is taken. More than half the people in world could be living in severely water-stressed areas by 2032, if market forces drive the globe’s political, economic and social agenda.
West Asia is likely to be the worst affected, with well over 90% of population expected to be living in areas with “severe water stress” by 2032. These are just some of the striking findings from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Global Environment Outlook-3 (GEO- 3) report.
The study takes a unique look at the policies and environmental impacts of past 30 years and then outlines four policy approaches for next three decades and compares and contrasts the likely impacts on people and natural world.
GEO-3 reports that improvements have occurred in river and air quality in places like north America and Europe. International effort to repair the ozone layer by reducing production and consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) is another notable success. Generally, there has been a steady decline in environment quality, over the last 30 years, especially across large parts of developing world.
Declining environmental quality and apparent increase in strength and frequency of natural hazards such as cyclones, floods and droughts are intensifying peoples’ vulnerability to food insecurity, ill health and unsustainable livelihoods, says the report. The poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, both within societies and in different countries and regions, are particularly vulnerable.