Posted on the 16th September 2016

30 August 2016
To – BirdLife Partner CEOs - Launch of the Key Biodiversity Areas Partnership
Dear Colleagues,
I am delighted to inform you that the new Key Biodiversity Areas Partnership will be launched at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii on the 3rd September. 

Eleven of the world’s leading nature conservation organisations (BirdLife International, IUCN, Amphibian Survival Alliance, Conservation International, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Global Wildlife Conservation, IUCN, Natureserve, RSPB, Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund International), will come together to deliver a shared initiative to support the identification, mapping, monitoring, and safeguard of KBAs through the KBA Partnership. 

As you know BirdLife has engaged fully and for some time in the complex and multi-stranded work and negotiations to develop a KBA Standard and an appropriate and functional KBA governance mechanism for the KBA Partnership. We recognise the great benefits that a unified global currency for the most important sites for biodiversity conservation can provide to decision-makers, the private and financial sector and the conservation community. But it has been essential to ensure that the interests of the BirdLife Partnership and the investment over40 years of our work in over 120 countries to identify and conserve thousands of IBAs are fully recognised and provide a strong foundation for KBAs. 

BirdLife Council, advised by Council’s Science Policy and Information Working Group, has provided strategic direction, set clear red lines, monitored progress and mandated the Secretariat to lead on these negotiations on behalf of the BirdLife Partnership over the last 18 months. At BirdLife’s 54th meeting in June 2016, Council approved BirdLife joining the new KBA Partnership on the basis of the core principles agreed at a governance meeting in February 2016 between 11 conservation organisations. These conditions have been met and the final KBA Agreement text has been approved by BirdLife’s Chair, Treasurer and Chair of the SPI Working Group ready for signature in Hawaii. 

Significant elements of BirdLife’s role in the KBA Partnership will include managing the World Database on KBAs on behalf of the KBA Partnership; having a permanent voting seat on the KBA Committee; and co-hosting with IUCN the KBA Secretariat. The KBA identification process is perceived as a strongly bottom-up process where BirdLife Partners may choose to play a crucial role. BirdLife is now extremely well positioned to advance this work and take advantage of the new opportunities presented by IBAs and KBAs. This will importantly include reinvigorating our efforts to ensure that information at these sites is regularly updated and monitored and that this information is accessible, visually appealing and fully used to strengthen site conservation and safeguard at all levels.

This is just the beginning of the KBA journey. We realise the importance of ensuring clear, timely and comprehensive information to you on what the KBA Partnership means to the BirdLife family and to our strong tradition on IBAs. The Secretariat will be working closely with you over the next few months to talk through and seek your input to the next steps. This will include a series webinars to further explain and discuss different strands of IBA and KBA work. The first in the series was held on 21st July and if you couldn’t make it and would like to learn more please look at this link (password: ibakba) You can also view the PowerPoint presentation from the webinar with background at this link: 

If you have any comments or questions regarding the KBA initiative, we would like to hear from you! Please do not hesitate to contact me and Melanie Heath, Director of Science, Policy and Information who is leading this work, with your queries. We are currently preparing additional simple guidance on all aspects of the KBA programme and your feedback will help shape these.
I’m extremely excited about BirdLife’s role in the KBA initiative. Working to prevent species extinctions and maintain the diversity of life on earth is core to Birdlife’s mission - equipping decision makers with the data and knowledge on the most important places for nature is fundamental to achieving this. Our strong foundation on the IBA work is serving the rest of the Conservation Community and I couldn’t be more proud of all what we have been able to achieve. With this opportunity we are using our expertise, knowledge and experience on the ground to make IBAs and areas that are important for biodiversity easier to be known, understood and adopted by decision makers. Thanks for you continued support and your hard work on conserving IBAs and KBAs.
With best wishes,
Patricia Zurita
Chief Executive Officer

BirdLife International



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