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International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation: Update

Volume 2 Number 2 - July 2005
Peter S. Wyse Jackson

We are delighted to announce that since the 20th May, 2004, a further 113 organizations have registered their commitment to work to achieve the objectives and targets of the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation (International Agenda) (Wyse Jackson & Sutherland, 2000) (see Box).  We are pleased that this includes organizations from six countries that are new to the list: Kazakhstan, Japan, Senegal, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Honduras.

This brings the total of organizations which have registered to 405 from 81 countries (20th May, 2005).  This figure will more than achieve BGCI’s strategic objective and operational milestone for 2005 which was 400 gardens registered as participants in the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation and illustrates the increasing awareness of the importance of botanic gardens for the conservation of plants and sustainable living.

The Royal Botanic Garden, Hamilton, Canada used the International Agenda as a basis for reviewing its activities. An Excel spreadsheet has been developed which allows gardens to assess their present, and potential future participation in the 211 activities outlined in the International Agenda. The spreadsheet is available for use by other gardens and can be obtained from BGCI.

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) formerly The National Botanical Institute conducted a review of their eight gardens regarding their progress in implementing the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation using this model.  This analysis showed that SANBI is doing 53% of the possible International Agenda activities outlined in the Agenda and are considering doing a further 26% of activities.  The only activity area not being addressed is biotechnology, while all the SANBI gardens are heavily involved in activities related to identification and monitoring; in situ and ex situ conservation; training and capacity building; technical and scientific cooperation; cultural heritage and networking.

The International Agenda has been widely welcomed by many conservation and botanic garden organisations and institutions worldwide.  This has included the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which has recognised the International Agenda as representing the botanic garden community's response and contribution to the achievement of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) (CBD, 2003).

As proposed in the International Agenda, BGCI will not only record those organisations which have registered their commitment to the International Agenda but also their contributions to the achievement of global plant conservation.  Reports were made to the 2nd World Botanic Gardens Congress, held in Barcelona, Spain in April 2004 (BGCI, 2005). 

In order to help measure the achievements of the objectives of the International Agenda and as a contribution to the GSPC, a series of 20 targets were developed for botanic gardens at the 2nd World Botanic Gardens Congress, held in Barcelona, Spain in April 2004 (Wyse Jackson, 2004).  These targets are to be achieved by 2010, the date chosen for the achievement of the 16 international targets included in the GSPC.

The activities outlined in the International Agenda for botanic gardens and network organisations will implement the 2010 Targets for Botanic Gardens.  For instance, Target 8 of the 2010 Targets for Botanic Gardens ‘50 per cent of threatened plants included in accessible botanic garden ex situ conservation collections, including cultivated and genebank material, preferably in the country of origin’ with the Sub-target:’75 per cent of critically endangered species (CR) included in ex situ conservation collections by 2010, preferably in the country of origin’ can be achieved by undertaking the activities described in Section 2: The Practice of Conservation of the International Agenda.

 For example, each garden should:

‘Develop and undertake planned programmes for the conservation of biodiversity ex situ, giving preference to plant species that are indigenous to their own region ,especially ones that are threatened or are of actual or potential economic value (Box 7)’ (Section 2.6 ii);

and each networking organization should:

‘Develop, assist and/or support regional programmes for ex situ conservation, identifying priorities and assigning responsibilities to particular gardens and monitoring the implementation of actions, with the aim of coordinating actions and avoiding duplication of efforts.’ (Section 2.6 i)

This work can be supported by BGCI publications such as the Darwin Technical Manual for Botanic Gardens, the Environmental Education in Botanic Gardens: Guidelines for developing individual strategies, A Handbook for Botanic Gardens on the Reintroduction of Plants to the Wild and A Cites Manual for Botanic Gardens, many of which have been translated into other languages.

In this way, activities will be converted into action to implement the International Agenda, the 2010 Targets for Botanic Gardens and GSPC.

You can read more about who has registered on our website or use the Garden Search to get up to date listings of registrants.

If you have not already registered, please take the opportunity to download the registration form, print it, and send by mail or fax to: The Secretary General, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Descanso House, 199 Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3BW, U.K. Fax: +44 0208332 5956.

BGCI, 2005.  [http://www.bgci.org/barcelona04/en/index.htm]

CBD (2003) Global Strategy for Plant Conservation Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  Further information: www.bgci.org/conservation/strategy.html

Wyse Jackson, P. 2004. Developing international targets for botanic gardens in conservation: a consultation document.  BGjournal 1(1): 4-6

Wyse Jackson, P.S. and Sutherland, L.A. (2000).  International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation.  Botanic Gardens Conservation International, London, U.K.  ISBN 0 9520275 9 3.  You can request copies online. Language versions available include Chinese, English, French, German, Latvian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.  Copies of the registration brochure and the International Agenda itself are available in pdf form on the BGCI website.  Please contact BGCI if you would like to be involved in its implementation.

 
International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation
The International Agenda is a global policy framework for botanic gardens worldwide to contribute to biodiversity conservation. Find out more about how botanic gardens are contributing here.
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