Understanding biodiversity risk - the role and value of IBAT, the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool

Worldwide there are estimated to be some 25,000 mines producing industrial minerals and almost 100,000 quarries producing aggregates for construction purposes. As the price of rare minerals and metals rises and the need for energy grows, even more areas will become targets for exploitation. Turning to financing, in 2011 IFC alone invested almost $19 billion in more than 500 projects. With this demand for natural resources and level of investment, we have not only an opportunity but arguably an obligation to ensure that our conservation knowledge is readily available to decision makers.

Launched at the WCC in 2008, the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT), a shared vision between IUCN, UNEP-WCMC, BirdLife International and Conservation International, is a response to this need for information. No longer can companies hide behind the excuse that "they didn´t know an area was important for biodiversity". IBAT tells them! Whether screening existing operations, planning exploration or financing development, IBAT has established itself as a key decision support tool for the business community.

Workshop participants will be given a guided tour of IBAT, its extensive knowledge base, how it relates to their activities and through interactive mapping learn how to visualise the location of priority sites for conservation, where threatened species occur and areas that are legally protected – fundamental elements of any environmental risk assessment. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about and discuss a series of real case studies, and understand how IBAT is being used practically to inform and influence decisions – data makes a difference, and IBAT shows how.

The workshop is expected to involve existing users from the extractive and finance sectors, and to be of interest to those attending the congress not only from the business community, but also from the wider fields of research and conservation planning.

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