It was easy to escape the white noise of the Westminster General Election last week as I participated in my first meeting of BirdLife International’s Global Council in Cambridge.  It was a privilege to enter the inner sanctum of the world’s largest nature conservation partnership.  We covered a huge amount of ground over three days of intense discussions thanks to the deft chairing of Braulio Dias and the energy of BirdLife staff.  Despite having a personal aversion to all-day meetings, I even managed – just about - to maintain my own equilibrium and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Given that birds no know borders, the RSPB has always worked internationally and helped create the International Council for Bird Preservation (the forerunner to BirdLife in 1922).  For us, the BirdLife partnership creates incredible solidarity in the fight against the twin climate and biodiversity crisis.  Not only do we learn from and support each other, our collective endeavour gives confidence that together we can achieve incredible things.  The breadth and scale of the impact of the partnership (from global to local) can be highlighted by a few events from the past week:

BirdLife is raising ambition globally by

…joining forces both with the partnership and with the world's major conservation organisations to develop and advocate new targets (published on the BirdLife website last week) as part of a new global deal for nature to be agreed in October 2020 in China.

…working together at the current meeting of the conference of the parties to the UN Framework Climate Change Convention in Madrid to make the case for investment in nature to help tackle the climate crisis and providing practical tools to help governments deliver wins for both nature and the climate

BirdLife is challenging European governments to do more to meet that ambition for example by…

…publishing a fresh plan to tackle the climate and ecological emergency and influence the EU’s proposed Green New Deal

…ensuring last week that European governments via the Bern Convention, adopted the Rome Strategic Plan 2020-2030 for eradication of illegal killing of birds in Europe and the Mediterranean.

BirdLife is collaborating with partners to tackle threats together for example by…

…developing a joint plan to restore Gough Island by removing the non-native invasive house mice which is not only predating millions of seabird chicks but have, as video footage we released last week, now been shown to attack adult albatrosses thereby enhancing extinction risks.  We could not mount the operation without our partners – the South African and UK governments, the Tristan Community, Island Conservation but also BirdLife South Africa.

BirdLife is continuing to ensure governments in each of the 115 countries with BirdLife partners have the best plans to tackle nature for example by…

…showcasing how traditional systems of resource management practiced by indigenous peoples help protect areas in the Arabian peninsula by reviving the Hima approach thanks to the BirdLife partner Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon

…publishing the RSPB manifesto for nature to challenge the UK political parties to include the right plans to tackle the emergency. 

So as attention this week inevitably turns to the result of Thursday’s General Election, whatever happens thanks to BirdLife we shall continue to ensure we think and act both globally and locally.

Anonymous