WAZA partners with the UN to save biodiversity

Date: 2011/09/20


The zoo and aquarium community enters an agreement with the United Nations


Gland, Switzerland, Tuesday 20 September 2011 (WAZA): Today in New-York the World Association for Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation together with 24 other international organisations to help conserve the world's biodiversity.

"I would like once again to convey my deep gratitude for accepting to join forces for the implementation of the Biodiversity Targets and to attend the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Cooperation" says Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity"


After the UN General Assembly has declared the period of 2011 to 2020 as the UN Decade on Biodiversity the UN Convention on Biological Diversity has invited international organisations to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. This plan represents a ten-year global framework to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity.

For the first time governments, NGOs, associations and other bodies are working together to successfully reach twenty different targets structured in five strategic goals:

  • Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society.
  • Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.
  • Improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.
  • Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building.


Dr Gerald Dick, WAZA Executive Director: "Biodiversity is under continuous threat globally, there is only a chance to turn trends around by working together, everybody contributing on his part, it might be the last call! ".

Species which have been assessed for extinction risk are on average moving closer to extinction. Amphibians and corals are of special concern. The abundance of vertebrate species, based on assessed populations, fell by nearly a third on average between 1970 and 2006, and continues to fall globally.


The world's zoo and aquarium community is best placed to raise awareness of the values of biodiversity and to provide incentives and examples for everybody's participation through concrete actions. With 700 million visitors passing through the gates of institutions within the WAZA network, WAZA is committed to further develop concrete activities in support of the Decade on Biodiversity.  "WAZA will contribute to the activities of the Decade on biodiversity by focusing on 2 main duties of zoos and aquariums which are education and conservation. WAZA is planning to develop related information material and enhance conservation work" says Dr Gerald Dick, WAZA Executive Director.


With hundreds of species conservation projects and an annual contribution of about 350 million $ for conservation activities, the world's zoo and aquarium community already plays a major role in conservation and will remain committed to save threatened species.


A selection of more than 200 conservation projects of WAZA members can be found on www.waza.org , on the following link: WAZA conservation projects.


The education manual on biodiversity "Biodiversity is life", developed by WAZA and IZE (International Zoo Educators) is available on: Biodiversity Manual. You can also read it directly on this link: Biodiversity Manual.pdf


 Gerald Dick signing the Memorandum

Fig. 1. Dr Gerald Dick signing the Memorandum and Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary. © WAZA



 Mou picture 2

Fig. 2. Dr Gerald Dick and  Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary. 




Click here to download the Memorandum of Cooperation document.


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  • Notes to Editors

    The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is a global organisation that harmonises the principles, policies, practices and strategy of over 1,300 leading zoos and aquariums.  WAZA is the unifying representative of the global zoo and aquarium community and works in partnership with IUCN, national governments and non-governmental organisations to ensure high standards of animal welfare and to achieve conservation in zoos and aquariums (ex situ) and in nature (in situ).