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2010 Rio Conventions Calendar Photography
 
2010 Rio Conventions Calendar

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Polar Bear

The polar bear is at the top of the arctic marine food web and can thus be used to monitor the impact of changes to the arctic ecosystem (such as the effects of climate change). It is estimated that 20,000 polar bears are left in the Arctic. Climate change represents the most serious threat to the polar bears.

Photograph:
Georg Bangjord


Sustaining Life, Sustaining Our Future

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Convention for Bio Diversity (CBD) – otherwise known as the "Rio Conventions" present their A3 sized 2010 calendar to world leaders, heads of governments, environment ministers and negotiators, inter-governmental agencies, non government organizations and key individuals engaged in environmental challenges all over the world.

The lives and well-being of over 6 billion people on Earth are intimately linked to the health of the species and ecosystems on our planet, and to its stability. We rely on nature to provide us with food, fuel and medicine. We rely on nature for invaluable services like crop pollination, climate stabilization, and air and water purification. Preserving the integrity of nature – and therefore a high quality of life for people everywhere – requires that we live sustainably and place only those demands upon the planet that do not exceed its capacity to regenerate.

Achieving this balance is the key to sustainable development and to realizing full human potential. In 1992, the international community committed to the vision of a sustainable future by agreeing to promote sustainable development using three groundbreaking treaties: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the Convention on Biological Diversity. These Conventions address climate change, desertification/land degradation and biodiversity loss respectively. Over time, we have increasingly realized that these issues, and therefore the implementation of these treaties, are deeply connected.

The United Nations has designated 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. During the year, individuals and groups around the world will be making commitments and developing long-term strategies to safeguard biodiversity for their sake and for that of future generations. Biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate. Now is the time to act.

We cannot tackle biodiversity loss, climate change and land degradation independently. For example, approximately 10% of the species assessed so far are at risk of extinction for every 1°C rise in global mean surface temperature. There is also increasing evidence that reducing emissions from forest and land-use activities such as logging and agriculture through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is a key way of keeping the global temperature increase to below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. The extent to which countries draw on and connect the different conservation and sustainable use lessons learned from the implementation of the three Rio Conventions will, in part, determine the achievement of the full benefits from land use management and other activities.

Integrating climate change related activities, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, and activities to combat desertification, land degradation and the effects of drought will require careful planning. Needless to say, the magnitude of the problems we face means that the task of aligning our actions will become increasingly important in the years to come.

The 2010 Rio Conventions calendar is offered in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation that we hope will define the International Year of Biodiversity. Its images celebrate the diversity of species, ecosystems, landscapes and cultures that grace our planet and that underpin efforts toward sustainable development. We hope these images will inspire you to join in the celebrations during this important year, and to do all you can to help preserve the diversity of life on Earth.

Ahmed Djoghlaf
Executive Secretary
CBD Secretariat
Luc Gnacadja
Executive Secretary
UNCCD Secretariat
Yvo de Boer
Executive Secretary
Climate Change Secretariat

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unfccc.int       cbd.int        unccd.int

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January
Young Boy
Swimming in River

Climate change and land degradation pose a major threat to everyone in the world, but nowhere is the crisis more acute than in the drylands, which are home to more than 2 billion people. It is here, where the soils are especially fragile, vegetation is sparse and the climate is unforgiving, that desertification takes hold. Africa is particularly threatened, since land degradation affects about 46% of the whole continent.

Photograph:
Giuseppe Aquili

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February
Hawksbill Turtle

Scientists have identified that the hawksbill global population has declined by over 80% during the last century and most populations are still declining, depleted or are remnants of larger aggregations. Like other marine turtles, hawksbills are threatened by the loss of habitat due to coastal development, poaching, excessive egg-collection, fishery and other human-related mortality, pollution, and climate change. It is this last threat, climate change, which has some turtle conservationists worried about the long-term survival of hawksbill turtles.

Photograph:
Paul Souders

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March
Black Despair

 

Photograph:
Ami Vitale

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April
Farmer

Massive cotton and soybean farm operations in the highlands surrounding the Pantanal threaten the marsh with silt and chemical run-off.

Photograph:
Joel Sartore

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May
Elephants

Drought is a major cause of the degradation of fragile ecosystems. It compels people and animals to abandon their habitats - otherwise they will perish. In some countries, nearly entire populations of elephants have disappeared because of severe drought.

Photograph:
Nick Brandt

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June
Acacia Tree with Sunset

Scarce vegetation is common in landscapes ravaged by desertification and drought. This Acacia senegal produces gum arabic, which is used for medicinal purposes by the local populations, and for cosmetics and food additives. Thus, the loss of drylands biodiversity is a threat to the well-being of the local inhabitants and the global community.

Photograph:
Jeff Hunter

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July
In tears

The impact of climate change is even higher when subsistence economy is based on fishing as it is the case for most of the Bijagos islands’ communities.

Photograph:
Ami Vitale

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August
Boy on Sand Dunes

A young boy sits on one of the sand dunes in the Sahara Desert. The dunes are encroaching what was once his homestead. The inhabitants make efforts to stop the progression of dunes with nets, in the hope of saving their lives, or face inevitable migration.

Photograph:
Remi Benali

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September
Oasis in Desert

A grid of fence to slow the advance of sand dunes into this oasis. No water, no life.

Photograph:
George Steinmetz

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October
Young Girl Carrying Wood

 

Photograph:
Giuseppi Aquili

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November
Young Boy on Balcony

China is now a pivotal factor in the global warming struggle. As China has opened up to the world, the world’s most populous nation now equals the U.S. as one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters. Within China itself, the impact of climate change on rice crops is a major concern as food production is a fundamental component of the economy.

Photograph:
Matthew Shelley

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December
Sheep Grazing

Herders watch over thousands of sheep in the beautiful landscape of Inner Mongolia on August 22, 2007. Much of the once-green pastures of Inner Mongolia have turned into dust bowls because of drought and climate change, as well as overgrazing.

Photograph:
Palani Mohan

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Dovekies

The Dovekie acts as a real climate indicator, giving researchers information about the temperature and health of marine ecosystems in the Arctic. Polar landscapes aren’t the only things being turned upside down by climate change: ecosystems are undergoing similar strain. Hence the use by scientists of certain plant or animal species as bioindicators, or climate sentinels. It feeds on copepods, a planktonic crustacean. At low sea temperature, copepods become large, rich in lipids and thus easier to catch. Conversely, if the sea warms up, the little auk will find it increasingly hard to feed itself and its chicks. Little auks make an excellent sentinel species since they are directly affected by environmental change.

Photograph:
Ralph Lee Hopkins

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Lion

In 2002, there were 2,749 lions in Kenya. Today, only about 2,000 exist. Kenya is losing approximately 100 lions each year, due to disease, climate change, habitat loss, human population growth and increased farming. At the current rate of decline, lions in Kenya could face extinction within the next 20 years unless urgent action is taken.

Photograph:
Nick Brandt