IBAs concept is the brain child of BirldLife International, a global partnership of conservation organisation (NGOS) that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.
BirdLife aims to identify, protect and manage a network of sites that are significant for the long-term viability of naturally occurring bird populations.
The conservation of Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas ensures the survival of a correspondingly large number of other animals and plants.
Initially, IBAs were identified only for terrestrial and freshwater environments but over the past decade, the IBA has been adapted and applied in the marine realm also.
BirdLife Partners have, to date, identified and documented more than 12,000 sites in over 200 countries and territories worldwide, as well as is the marine environment.
IBAs can show where current protected-area systems miss key species, and how these gaps can be plugged.
In several countries, IBAs are formally recognised in national legislation as sites of particular importance
The Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT), a global platform of biodiversity information available for scientists, conservationists and business users, provides information on IBAs and other critical habitats to support decision-making at all levels.
IBAs often contribute to the livelihoods and wellbeing of local people. The traditional land management practices of communities that use IBAs may help maintain the habitats needed for wildlife conservation.
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are:
Places of international significance for the conservation of birds and other biodiversity.
Recognized world-wide as practical tools for conservation.
Distinct areas amenable to practical conservation action.
Identified using robust, standardized criteria.
Sites that together form part of a wider integrated approach to the conservation and sustainable use of the natural environment.