Luis Barreto, WWF
There are many ways to help conserve Key Biodiversity Areas and to engage with the KBA Programme. This is an ambitious effort to map, monitor and conserve the most important places for life on earth, and it will need a concerted effort from many individuals and organisations to achieve this goal. The KBA Programme envisages KBA identification being led from within countries by passionate individuals who care about nature. We invite individuals, communities, and a wide range of stakeholders to join the efforts of the KBA Partnership in the conservation, sustainable use, and management of KBAs. It is likely that not all KBAs will become legally designated Protected Areas, but they all need focused and sustained efforts to maintain the biodiversity for which they were identified in the first place.
Are you in a position to help establish a KBA National Coordination Group in your country? These are groups that coordinate the process of identifying KBAs across multiple taxonomic groups and ecosystems, and monitor the network of KBAs to ensure their values are conserved. Can you help to raise funding for a national effort to map and identify KBAs? Could you support a process to identify KBAs across your nation? Do you hold data on the distribution of particular species or ecosystems? If so you might be able to identify potential KBAs, apply the criteria and propose KBAs.
There is also a role to play for everyone whose actions and decisions have a potential impact on KBAs. Are you working for a private-sector company that might be impacting KBAs? Could you work to ensure that your company policy aims to avoid impacting KBAs? Do you work for a financial institution, and if so could you link your financing of projects to those that do not impact KBAs? Do you work for a government? Could you encourage KBA identification, recognition of KBAs in national policy and legislation, and use of KBAs to help focus efforts to identify protected areas and 'other effective area-based conservation measures'?
KBAs once identified need monitoring to check that they are maintaining the values that make them KBAs. There may be ways that you can get involved in monitoring sites within your country. This will involve assessing threats to the sites and species as well as monitoring populations of species or extent of ecosystems. You can also get involved in championing the conservation of KBAs in their country and lobbying for their conservation. Engage your government to urge them to recognise the value of KBAs and to ensure they are identified and effectively conserved.