BirdLife International is a global coalition of more than 100 country partner organizations. The Important Bird Areas Program was initiated by BirdLife International in Europe in the 1980's. Since then, over 8,000 sites in 178 countries have been identified as Important Bird Areas, with many national and regional IBA inventories published in 19 languages. Hundreds of these sites and millions of acres have received better protection as a result of the Important Bird Areas Program.
As the United States Partner of BirdLife International, the National Audubon Society administers the IBA Program in the U.S. Audubon launched its Important Bird Areas initiative in 1995, establishing programs state by state. State-based IBA programs provide conservation leaders with the flexibility to tailor the program to their individual state needs, and they also give Audubon members and local volunteers the greatest opportunities to protect sites in their communities.
Conservation activities are being conducted at many of these IBAs. A U.S. IBA Committee has been established to review IBA data and assures the credibility of all IBAs of continental or global significance.