Chair's Introduction - Spring 2010

 

Peter Bridgewater has been appointed as Chairman

Welcome to the Spring edition of Nature News – our first issue in this International Year of Biodiversity, and to celebrate you can see we’ve had something of a ‘makeover’!

 

Our new logo and corporate identity make a statement in this year of biodiversity, and comes twenty years after the “shake-up” in the Government’s UK nature conservation mechanisms. JNCC’s corporate image has remained static since its inception in 1991, and we now have a new look that reflects the enterprising and partnership-focussed spirit of the organisation. It’s important that our stakeholders have a clear vision of ‘JNCC’. I believe we now have an effective aide-mémoire that our staff can be proud of, and will become a sign of quality to everyone with whom we interact.

 

Talking of our business, improving access to information has been a long-term, major strand of JNCC’s work. Wise choices are informed choices, where intelligence meets wisdom. Better policy making, improved planning, innovative development and effective risk management depend on having clear and current information on the status and trends of biodiversity; as well as an understanding of the economic context.

 

Over the last decade, JNCC has been heavily involved in providing access to data through the National Biodiversity Network and, more recently, the Marine Environmental Data and Information Network.  These resources have been invaluable in conservation decision making and activities by individuals and local and national governments.

 

The longstanding JNCC and British Trust for Ornithology partnership for bird monitoring has recently been renewed, with a new six-year agreement. The scientific expertise within this partnership will help to sustain the UK’s lead in the science of surveillance. Underpinning this work is the commitment of an extensive network of volunteers whose input is essential in providing data on bird populations. Whilst the accountants may be able to put a value on their efforts, in essence their work is priceless.

 

The new agreement was signed at an International Year of Biodiversity event co-hosted by JNCC and the Linnean Society in February. This gathering asked the question ‘Is biodiversity really under pressure?’ and brought together natural and social scientists, as well as policy makers, to discuss and challenge the major threats to biodiversity. I very much enjoyed co-chairing the meeting, and was fascinated by the champions of the handful of pressures under consideration, all making cases for theirs being the most important area for support.

 

We are currently in the midst of polling our key funders and supporters on their forthcoming needs. Our Managing Director, Marcus Yeo, has been leading this effort with our important stakeholders across all parts of the UK. I was able to join him in meeting with Jane Davidson, the Welsh Assembly Minister in December, and Edwin Poots, the Northern Ireland Environment Minister in January. 

 

Our objective remains being the ‘green glue’ in nature conservation, nationally and internationally, helping the UK to deliver a comprehensive fully joined-up approach to nature conservation. Communication is key to this, and we will continue to work with all our partners and stakeholders to deliver top-quality advice, policy and product, within the resources available to us in this increasingly stringent financial climate.

 

Peter Bridgewater

Chair, JNCC