Published 28 May 2013

Key organizations team up to stop the extinction crisis

Gland, Switzerland, 28th May 2013—With more than 20,000 of the species assessed on The IUCN Red List threatened with extinction, IUCN and other organizations, including TRAFFIC, have come together to support the achievement of a global biodiversity target to prevent further species loss.

Greater One-horned Rhino. © Ola Jennersten / WWF-Canon

The “Friends of Target 12” partnership will assist countries in their efforts to achieve Target 12—one of 20 “Aichi Biodiversity Targets” adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Japan in 2010—that aims to prevent further extinctions of threatened species and improve the conservation status of those disappearing most rapidly. 

“Today, species are disappearing at unprecedented rates,” said Jane Smart, Global Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group. “However, we know that conservation works. We need to do much more of it and at a much larger scale. We hope that this partnership will provide the concerted action that we urgently need to secure the long term survival of species.” 

The Friends of Target 12 initiative aims to bring together the knowledge and experience of government institutions, intergovernmental, non-governmental and community-based organizations, academic and professional networks and private sector companies working to conserve species and ensure their sustainable use. It will offer practical advice to countries on how to better protect species, providing a common space for its partners to share and build on their previous conservation successes. 

“As a member of the Friends of Target 12 initiative, TRAFFIC’s expertise on the global wildlife trade will strengthen the partnership’s efforts in addressing the critical trade issues affecting many of the world’s threatened wildlife species,” said Roland Melisch, TRAFFIC’s Senior Programme Director for Africa and Europe.

Out of 65,518 species currently assessed by The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, 1,173 are Extinct or Possibly Extinct and 20,219 are threatened. However, as demonstrated by several of the Friends of Target 12 organizations, successful conservation action can bring species back from the brink of extinction. Examples include the Greater One-horned Rhino Rhinoceros unicornis, Lear’s Macaw Anodorhynchus leari, Arabian Oryx Oryx leucoryx, California Condor Gymnogyps californianus and Przewalski’s Horse Equus ferus

“Many organizations and institutions around the world are contributing to the protection of species and are supporting the implementation of Target 12,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary. “This partnership brings them together and enhances the support that we can provide to CBD Parties to finally move from words to implementation of the Aichi biodiversity targets.”

The partnership is officially supported by the CBD and currently has 21 partners.


Current Friends of Target 12 partners:
•    Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)
•    BirdLife International
•    Bern Convention
•    Conservation International (CI)
•    Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)
•    Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
•    Chico Mendes Institute for Conservation of Biodiversity, Ministry of the Environment of Brazil (ICMBio)
•    International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
•    IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
•    IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC)
•    IUCN SSC Primates Specialist Group (PSG)
•    IUCN SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG)
•    Island Conservation
•    Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)
•    SOS—Save Our Species (SOS)
•    United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)
•    Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
•    WWF
•    Zoological Society of London (ZSL)
•    Zoo Outreach Organization (India)

More information about the commitments of partners to Friends of Target 12

About the Aichi Biodiversity Targets
The Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 with the purpose of inspiring broad-based action in support of biodiversity over the next decade by all countries and stakeholders.  The Strategic Plan is comprised of a shared vision, a mission, strategic goals and 20 ambitious yet achievable targets, collectively known as the Aichi Targets. The Strategic Plan serves as a flexible framework for the establishment of national and regional targets and it promotes the coherent and effective implementation of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Aichi Biodiversity Target 12By 2020, the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained.
Though some extinctions are the result of natural processes, human actions have greatly increased current extinction rates. Reducing the threat of human-induced extinction requires action to address the direct and indirect drivers of change (see the Aichi Targets under Goals A and B of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020) and can belong term processes. However, imminent extinctions of known threatened species can in many cases be prevented by protecting important habitats (such as Alliance for Zero Extinction sites) or by addressing the specific direct causes of the decline of these species (such as overexploitation, invasive alien species, pollution and disease).

This target has two components:
• Preventing extinction – Preventing further extinction entails that those species which are currently threatened do not move into the extinct category. Of the more 19,000 species known to be threatened globally, more than 3,900 are classified as Critically Endangered. Critically Endangered species are considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
• Improving the conservation status of threatened species - An improvement in conservation status would entail a species increasing in population to a point where it moves into a lower threat status. Using the IUCN criteria a species would no longer be considered as threatened once it moved into the Near Threatened category.
More information: