Recently, the United Nations General Assembly adopted an unprecedented resolution recognizing the critical importance of ecological connectivity worldwide. The resolution, sponsored by Kyrgyzstan and signed by 60 other countries, encourages all 193 country members to enhance habitat and species connectivity to preserve ecosystems and wildlife corridors that share borders between countries.
On April 16, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 75/271 “Nature knows no borders: transboundary cooperation a key factor for biodiversity conservation, restoration and sustainable use.” It is the first-ever such resolution on transboundary conservation and the first time that the terms “connectivity” and “ecological corridors” have been included at this high level of decision making. This further highlights the dedication that is needed around the world to achieve the aims of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).
In demonstration of the significance of connectivity conservation, and the impact that this resolution can have around the world, a main action-oriented paragraph states that the:
“General Assembly, …Encourages member States to maintain and enhance connectivity of habitats, including but not limited to those of protected species and those relevant for the provision of ecosystem services, including through increasing the establishment of transboundary protected areas, as appropriate, and ecological corridors based on the best available scientific data, in accordance with international law and national legislation, and to promote initiatives to strengthen the already existing ones and improve their effective management and other effective area-based conservation measures, thereby contributing to the maintenance of their functioning;”
A number of initiatives and regions of the world that are already contributing to the resolution’s aims are also mentioned in the resolution. These include places where the Center for Large Landscape Conservation is actively engaged by contributing in a variety of ways, including the Carpathian mountains in Eastern Europe, Central Asian mammal populations, and jaguar corridors in Central and South America. The Center is excited about this strong mandate that has been given to the countries and other important stakeholders of the world and looks forward to aligning activities and contributing toward realizing its objectives.
Importantly, the UN Secretary-General is invited to report to the General Assembly in two years’ time—at its 77th session—on progress toward implementation. Other key passages of the resolution related to ecological connectivity include:
- Stressing the need for connectivity between ecosystems and cooperation in order to maintain healthy and intact ecosystems and habitats; and
- Encouraging Member States and international organizations and other relevant stakeholders to emphasize the importance of protecting vulnerable ecosystems and their connectivity.