SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, 20 May. (EUROPE PRESS) –
The Parliament of the Canary Islands was this Friday the center of the debate on the urgency of acting against the threats to the rich biodiversity of the Canary Islands, through a conference organized by the Loro Parque Fundación and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature-IUCN with the collaboration Government of the Canary Islands and the Chamber.
The event was presented by the president, Gustavo Matos, and closed by the second vice-president, Rosa Dávila, and included speeches by the Deputy Minister for the Fight against Climate Change and Ecological Transition of the Government of the Canary Islands, Miguel Ángel Pérez, the president of the Species Survival Commission of IUCN, Jon Paul Rodríguez, and the coordinator of the Center for Species Survival Macaronesia and director of the Loro Parque Fundación, Javier Almunia.
In his speech, Gustavo Matos recalled that in this tenth legislature in which the Autonomous Chamber celebrates forty years, one of the priority objectives is to make Parliament an institution that is closer to citizens, more open, turning it into a space for meeting, reflection, debate and dialogue on all those issues of various kinds that interest the public.
“We are talking here today about threatened biodiversity and we are doing it, on the one hand, at a time when environmental issues are already one of the main concerns of citizens and institutions. On the other hand, we are doing it in one place, the Canary Islands, which undoubtedly represents a true sanctuary for biodiversity due to its wide variety of ecosystems,” he said.
However, he indicated that, despite the protection measures, the Canary Islands “are suffering the same threat” as the entire planet, “a planet that is only one, there is no plan b.”
He affirmed that this 2022 in which four decades of self-government are commemorated “is a good time to take stock of environmental matters and think about what the Canary Islands want from now on” and stressed that a good tool for this will be the laws currently being processed to Fight against Climate Change and Biodiversity and Natural Resources.
AN IMPENDABLE COMMITMENT
Vice-president Rosa Dávila also, in her closing remarks, remarked that the exceptional biodiversity of the Canary Islands makes it a “true world laboratory for the study of species considered authentic jewels of nature”.
However, he said, “today we see how the climatic, environmental and human impact represents a serious threat to this temple of biodiversity, where some species have been irreversibly disappearing over the years.”
In addition, he indicated that this trend, which is worryingly spreading throughout the planet, “has set off alarm bells and, in the case of Europe, the Union has set a series of objectives to be achieved before 2030 within the framework of its strategy in matter of biodiversity.
Along these lines of the appeal made by Europe, the vice-president praised the work of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and emphasized that it is the obligation of institutions, organizations and society as a whole “heed the distress signal that comes to us from the Canarian ecosystems”.
For this reason, he considered essential “a real and committed involvement to advance in a responsible and harmonious coexistence with our incredible natural heritage” and added that this is “one of the few legacies that can be handed down to future generations, so it cannot be allow to postpone it”.
For his part, Deputy Minister Miguel Ángel Pérez recalled that the Canary Islands are a “planetary hot spot” for biodiversity with the largest number of protected species in Europe and underlined the “serious threat” that species are suffering, “not only because of the interaction but also because of this silent invasion of alien species due to climate change.
Likewise, he valued the joint work with administrations and foundations such as Loro Parque to “put protection on the front page”.
In this regard, Javier Almunia highlighted the role that the Center for Species Survival Macaronesia is called upon to develop as an observatory of threatened biodiversity and specified that this organization has identified 30 percent of its threatened species and subspecies in the Canary Islands, something that adds to a important loss of biodiversity and, also, to the added danger represented by the introduction of invasive species. Of this 30 percent, 5 percent are critically threatened.
The forum held the round table ‘Critically Endangered Species of the Canary Islands’, moderated by the journalist Sofía Ramos and with the participation of Carolina Castillo, professor at the University of La Laguna; José Juan Castro, professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Nuria Ester Macías, professor at the University of La Laguna, and Arnoldo Santos, retired researcher from the Canarian Institute of Agricultural Research at the La Orotava Botanical Garden.
CENTER FOR SPECIES SURVIVAL MACARONESIA
This Friday’s day was held within the framework of the presentation, coinciding with the commemoration, this Sunday, of the ‘International Day of Biodiversity’, of the Center for Species Survival Macaronesia, which will become an observatory of threatened biodiversity, as well as a collaborative platform to make available to regional and insular administrations all the global conservation tools developed by the different IUCN groups.
The objective of the Center for Species Survival Macaronesia is to make Canarian society aware of the need to conserve the extraordinary biodiversity of the archipelago, making visible the species on the brink of extinction at the hands of experts from Canarian universities.
The initiative consists of a collection of photos and information on the 94 critically endangered species of the Canary Islands, which has been published on social networks from April 22 to June 5 as a Partner Event of the European Green Week 2022.
In addition, an exhibition has been presented with some of the critically endangered species of the entire archipelago.