Roads, railways, navigable channels, power lines, and pipelines, extend across large swaths of the globe and are essential for an interconnected world allowing the expansion of human societies and improved livelihoods. Accordingly, the global demand for those Transport and other Linear Infrastructure (TLI), has progressed rapidly in the last decade providing access to remote areas as well as generating an improved understanding of both the positive and negative impacts on natural systems both spatially and over time. Nevertheless, beside intensive agricultural land-use and urban expansion, transport is a major cause and a driver of fragmentation of natural ecosystems and biodiversity decline worldwide and other impacts for many years to come resulting on edge effects, barrier effects for migrating wildlife as well as consequences for human safety due to animal vehicle collisions (AVC). Other Linear Infrastructure, such as power lines, are also major causes of human-induced mortality for birds worldwide due to collision and electrocution, especially when towers and poles become attractive perches and roost sites. Both voltage distribution and transmission lines present a near-invisible flight barrier and collisions between birds and conductors and shield wires are well-documented.
The demand for improving humans and wildlife safety, biodiversity and resilient TLI, under the climate change scenario, requires the development of a strategy that involves all stakeholders. Since ICOET 2015, a growing number of professionals and organisations, from all over the world, have joined forces. Comprising the four TLI continental conferences (ACLIE, ANET, ICOET, IENE) as well as IUCN and WWF, this collaborative team have developed ‘International Guidance for Ecologically Friendly Linear Infrastructure (IGELI). IGELI aims to ensure that the TLI built today are safe for both humans and wildlife, and ecologically sustainable. With this in mind the mainstreaming of biodiversity in TLI sectors, has been introduced as part of the Convention for Biological Diversity framework (CBD) and the achievement of Aichi Global targets in CBD 2018 COP 14 in Egypt, resulting in our coalition developing a Global Strategy and Action Plan for Ecologically Sustainable TLI.
The Global Strategy addresses the overall framework of guiding directions on: launching proactive policies, establishing appropriate legal frameworks, supporting better planning, implementation and maintenance, promoting multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary cooperation and networking, encouraging innovative science-based solutions, and supporting the culture of learning.
The Global Strategy aims to support the CBD 2020 COP 15 in China and will be presented as an international roadmap which primarily sets up the objectives, the international principles for governments, organizations and the key stakeholders which need to be engaged on mainstreaming biodiversity and ecological connectivity on LTI development.