The Connect 2 Socotra Campaign
Climate change is one of the most threatening issues of our time, with far-reaching impacts on ecosystems and human livelihoods. From shifting weather patterns that threatened food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Small and isolated islands, with their rich yet vulnerable biodiversity and delicate balance between traditional social practices and sustainable livelihoods, are among those most affected by climate change.
One of these island groups is Yemen’s Socotra among the world’s top ten archipelagoes with the highest number of endemic plant species per square kilometer.
To raise awareness on the rich and distinct natural and cultural heritage of Socotra, UNESCO and the Friends of Socotra Association launched the Connect 2 Socotra Campaign in September 2019, in Palermo, Italy. From October to December 2019, major museums, botanical gardens, academic institutes and other organizations around the world that host historically important collections and advise or stimulate ongoing projects related to Socotra, are organizing natural history and photography exhibitions, public talks and lectures, workshops, film screenings, and other events to connect Socotra to the world, and the world to Socotra.
The campaign also takes place online: to spread awareness about Socotra’s natural and cultural heritage all over the world, all the online contents of the campaign will be linked through the hashtag #connect2socotra. You can find Connect2Socotra on Instagram, Twitter on the GCC & Yemen Twitter profile and through all the online network of the participant institutes.
Use the Hashtag #Connect2Socotra to join the campaign.
93%Endemic Reptiles Species
1564Species of Insects
733Species of coastal fish
Socotra under threat
Various factors today are threatening Socotra’s unique biodiversity and local livelihoods. Not only climate change, but also unsustainable development and resource use, land degradation, pollution, the risk of introduced invasive alien species, and the current conflict in mainland Yemen have all a direct impact on the local capacities to cope with the increasing challenges in biodiversity conservation.
In 2015 and 2018, extreme cyclones affected the Archipelago, destroying people’s houses as well as entire woodlands of endemic trees, which had survived storms for centuries. Combined with the effects of increasing droughts and overgrazing, the natural regeneration capacities of Socotra’s unique ecosystems are becoming direr. At the same time, the marine environment is affected through climate impacts on coral reefs and overfishing.
As underscored in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, global action and coordination is required to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, and to support life on land by tackling desertification, halting and reversing land degradation, and halting biodiversity loss. People’s impact on changes in biodiversity goes in parallel with climate change. Construction developments, unsustainable use of natural resources, land degradation and the introduction of invasive alien species represent a potential danger to the outstanding universal value of the Socotra.
© UNESCO, Pictures by Comra, Yemen
The #Connect2Socotra campaign focuses on the need to conserve and protect the unique natural and cultural heritage of Socotra. It is aimed at spreading awareness on how the challenges and our care connect us to the vulnerability of ecosystems all over the world. UNESCO and FoS are not responsible for any views or opinions linked to the #connect2socotra hashtag on social media by individuals or organisations who are not official partners in the campaign. The campaign is coordinated by UNESCO, FoS and involves organisations that are part of connect2socotra per official agreement.
Cover Photo: Courtesy of © Vladimir Melnik
Copyright of all photos on this webpage are © UNESCO unless otherwise indicated