On 5th July, a significant step forward in biodiversity conservation of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean regions was taken.
Monash University, The Government of the Principality of Monaco, the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research hosted a meeting of biodiversity and Antarctic experts convened for three days in the Principality of Monaco, and entitled: The Monaco Assessment II: Implementation.
The purpose of the meeting was to develop a set of practical steps to help improve conservation in the Antarctic region. The meeting also set about delivering a set of indicators that would help the nations responsible for implementing such conservation to monitor their success. The Essential Biodiversity Variable framework (http://geobon.org/essential-biodiversity-variables/monitoring) was used as a vehicle to identify, link and prioritise the biodiversity observations needed to support the multiple conservation objectives for region. Central to meeting these objectives are data on species distribution and abundance, in line with the work being conducted by GEO BONs Species Populations Working Group (http://geobon.org/working-groups/species-populations).
At the historic Monaco Assessment, delivered in 2015, scientists concluded that the ‘…biodiversity outlook for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is similar no better than that for the rest of the globe.’ (http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.2001656).
They also concluded that ‘…much scope exists for improving the situation for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.’
The Monaco Assessment II meeting has shown just how these improvements can be delivered.
In his concluding overview to the meeting, co-convenor Professor Steven Chown of Monash University and President of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research said: ‘what we have done here will leave a substantial legacy. We have identified practical actions to improve the status of biodiversity in the region, and a set of tools that policy makers can use to easily measure the success of their actions.’
Co-convenor, Professor Melodie McGeoch (Monash University and co-chair of GEO BONs Species Populations Working Group), noted: ‘The work will help deliver a global vision, espoused by the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, that by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, wisely used, and delivering benefits to people.’ This vision has been incorporated into the Sustainable Development Goals.
In closing the meeting of policy makers, lawyers and scientists, Professor Denis Allemand, Scientific Director of the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, emphasized that ‘…Monaco will continue to take a strong interest in promoting conservation in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean regions and the scientific evidence required to underpin it.’
The outcomes and products of this Implementing the Monaco Assessment meeting will be conveyed to the Antarctic Treaty Parties, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the broader public. Moreover, they will form the core of actions for a global plan for further improving conservation in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
This second meeting, in a set of Monaco Assessment Meetings, was co-organized by the Government of the Principality of Monaco; The Centre Scientifique de Monaco; the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research; and Monash University.
Steven Chown, Monash University (+61 499 780 433), firstname.lastname@example.org
Melodie McGeoch, Monash University (+61 499 954 180), email@example.com
Céline Le Bohec, CNRS-Strasbourg University, France (+33 3 88 10 69 11) & Centre Scientifique de Monaco (+377 97 77 44 56), firstname.lastname@example.org
Céline Van Klaveren-Impagliazzo, Government of Monaco, (+377 98 98 44 70), email@example.com