On 1 January 2016, member states of the United Nations adopted a series of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. These goals are expected to guide national development plans in the coming years. The SDGs are ambitious: they include such goals as ending poverty, ending hunger, ensuring healthy lives, and achieving sustainable consumption. And under each SDG are multiple specific targets. SDG 1 for example — to end poverty — includes targets to reduce the number of people living in poverty by at least half by 2030, and to eradicate extreme poverty all together.
MEAM and MPA News
By Juan E. Bezaury-Creel, David Gutiérrez-Carbonell, and César Sánchez-Ibarra
On 7 December 2016, during the 13th Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP13) held in Cancún, the Mexican Government designated three new MPAs totaling 647,015 km2. All three sites are multiple-use biosphere reserves, with some zones that are strictly protected (no-take) and others that are sustainably managed.
Canada designates MPA to protect globally unique glass sponge reefs
On 16 February, the Government of Canada designated a 2410-km2 MPA along its Pacific coast to protect several globally unique and ancient glass sponge reefs. The glass sponges have mineral skeletons made of silica (hence their ‘glass’ name) and their reef structures are estimated to be 9000 years old. Glass sponge reefs of this size — once abundant during Earth’s Jurassic Period — were believed by scientists to be extinct before these colonies were discovered off Canada in 1987.
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