The atmosphere was buzzing in the COP26 Green Zone on the morning of Tuesday 9th November. There was a sense of excitement in the air – as well as a sense of urgency. After the sobering report from the IPCC stating that human activity was unequivocally disrupting the climate – the need to drive urgent action is greater than ever.
Two AWC wildlife ecologists, Issie Connell and Jamie Dunlop, along with Friends of AWC’s UK Philanthropy Lead, Lizzy Crotty, arrived in the Green Zone to set up AWC’s one day exhibition stand – featuring fully recyclable and reusable materials in line with COP26’s sustainability code. You can watch the special COP26 video made for AWC’s exhibitor stand here.
The recent IPCC report identified Australia as one of the developed countries most at risk to the impacts of climate change, making AWC’s work to protect our biodiversity more urgent and more important than ever. AWC’s model of effective conservation has attracted the attention of prominent figures from around the world.
Former professional rugby union player and notable conservationist, David Pocock, was particularly pleased to see AWC’s representation at the summit – stating that “the work of AWC is something we should all be celebrating.” David visited Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary in Nov 2020 to see AWC’s work on the ground with the endangered Numbat.
Furthermore, British author and former MP, Stanley Johnson, was thrilled to see AWC highlight the importance of addressing the global biodiversity crisis together with the climate crisis, as they are linked – conserving biodiversity entails climate change mitigation. Stanley attended the Friends of AWC High Commissioner’s Reception in London in October this year, and is a keen follower of AWC’s work.
As conference negotiations came to a close last Saturday, some world leaders were disappointed while others optimistic. It is difficult to know what the future will hold. What we do know is that Australia’s wildlife and ecosystems face an enormous threat from increased drought, heat, fire and other weather extremes. But it isn’t too late, there is still hope. At AWC, we continue to focus on science-based conservation land management to drive outcomes for our biodiversity:
- We are increasing populations of threatened species through Australia’s most ambitious reintroduction program, which has involved over 524 translocations of 19 threatened and locally-extinct mammal species to date, with a further 7 species planned. This science-intensive program ensures we stay ahead of the curve for our threatened wildlife, and secures a future for the species in predator-free save havens.
- We are implementing Australia’s largest non-government fire management program, which achieves prescribed burning needed to generate healthy ecosystems over an area of 7.5 million hectares, abating approximately 130,000 tonnes of carbon per annum.
- We are working in partnership with Indigenous groups (and working to grow these important partnerships) around the country, sharing traditional knowledge and modern science, and listening to Indigenous voices to guide the management of Australia’s ecosystems.