Can weak governance spell doom for species?

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Poor governance has been intricately linked with corruption and having adverse impact on sustainable development, wealth creation, ineffective rule of law and overall economic growth of a country. However, a new study by Cambridge University scientists has now gone a step further to establish that effective governance or lack thereof are also the strongest indicators of declining number of species in a country.

waterbirds“Although the global coverage of protected areas continues to increase, our findings suggest that ineffective governance could undermine the benefits of these biodiversity conservation efforts,” says study lead Dr Tatsuya Amano.

The researchers analysed over 2.4 million annual count records of 461 waterbird species across almost 26,000 different survey sites around the world.

It was found that waterbird decline was greater in regions of the world where governance is less effective. Such regions included Western and Central Asia, South America and sub-Saharan Africa.

The healthiest overall species population were seen in regions like continental Europe where levels of governance were comparatively much higher.

Waterbirds are a diverse group of animals that include ducks, heron flamingos and pelicans, among others .

“We now know that governance and political stability is a vital consideration when developing future environmental policies and practices,” Dr Amano adds.

Political instability can weaken legal enforcement, and consequently promote unsuitable, often illegal, killing even in protected areas,” says Amano.

The research was recently published in the journal Science.

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