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UN Biodiversity Report: The world has set a deadline of 2020 for nature conservation and failed all goals



Aichi’s biodiversity goals set out a 10-year plan to conserve the world’s biodiversity, promote sustainability and protect ecosystems. The goals were ambitious but decisive. For example, one of them aimed to prevent the extinction of endangered species and improve their status by 2020.

“Humanity is at a crossroads in the legacy it leaves to future generations,” the report warns. “Biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, and the pressure behind this decline is increasing.”

If we continue our trajectory as the climate crisis accelerates, biodiversity will continue to deteriorate due to “currently unstable production and consumption patterns, population growth and technological development,”
; the report said.

Of the 20 goals, only six were “partially achieved.” On average, participating countries reported that more than a third of national targets were to be met; half of the national targets were slower; 11% of targets do not show significant progress, and 1% are actually moving in the wrong direction.

There has been little progress in the celebration, but “the rate of biodiversity loss is unprecedented in human history, and the pressure is mounting,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, in a press release.

“Earth’s living systems as a whole are under threat. And the more humanity exploits nature in a non-viable way and undermines its contribution to human life, the more we undermine our well-being, security and prosperity.”

What the world has achieved

First, the good news is that there has been some limited progress over the last decade.

Six objectives that have been partially achieved: prevention of invasive species, conservation of protected areas, access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing, biodiversity strategies and action plans, information exchange and resource mobilization.

Global deforestation has fallen by a third compared to the previous decade. A number of places have been successfully eradicated by invasive species. Some countries have put in place appropriate fisheries management policies that have helped to restore marine fish stocks, which have been severely affected by overfishing and environmental degradation.

We have significantly expanded the number of protected natural areas, both on land and at sea. And we have introduced more conservation measures, such as hunting restrictions, which have paid off.

“Without such actions, the extinction of birds and mammals in the last decade would probably be two to four times higher,” the report said.

What we couldn’t do

The list of achievements is encouraging and shows that governments can take common action with concrete results, but the report says this is still not enough.

According to the report, 20 targets can be broken down into 60 “elements”, of which 13 show no progress or, worse, move in the opposite direction.

Habitat loss and deterioration remain high, especially in forests and tropics. Global wetlands are shrinking and rivers are shrinking, posing a “critical threat to freshwater diversity,” the report said.

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Pollution is still spreading: plastic in our oceans and pesticides in ecosystems. Our coral reefs are dying. Our demand for natural resources is growing. Indigenous communities, meanwhile, are still largely excluded from these conversations, and their valuable knowledge of sustainable resource management is not reflected in national legislation.
We also plunged headlong into the sixth mass extinction; The wildlife population has declined by more than two-thirds since 1970 and has continued to decline over the past decade, the report said.

These weak efforts are reflected in our funding. Governments around the world spend about $ 78-91 billion a year on biodiversity conservation efforts.

Even in areas that have made progress, the situation is not really improving – it is simply declining more slowly, and perhaps less severely, than if no action had been taken at all. For example, although some countries manage more sustainable marine fish stocks, a third of the world’s marine stocks are still overfished – more than 10 years ago, the report said.

What we need to do

Urgent action is needed as soon as possible; The degradation of the Earth’s biodiversity will affect us all and will be particularly detrimental to “indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as the world’s poor and vulnerable, given their dependence on biodiversity for their well-being,” the report said.

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He added that although we had not achieved any of Aiti’s goals, “it is not too late to slow down, halt and eventually reverse current trends in biodiversity loss.” Many necessary actions have already been identified and agreed upon in international treaties, such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (which the United States is now abandoning).

The report identifies eight areas where we need to move towards sustainability: land and forests, agriculture, food systems, fisheries and oceans, cities and infrastructure, fresh water, climate action and the integrated global Single Health system.

Each area provides more specific steps – for example, cities need to create more greenery, take into account the impact on biodiversity when building new roads or infrastructure, and promote local food production.

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Finding these solutions is “difficult” but critical, and we have seen what happens when we fail. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic illustrates “the link between our treatment of the living world and the emergence of human disease,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a report.

“Strengthening action to protect and restore biodiversity – the living tissue of our planet and the foundation of human life and prosperity – is an important part of this collective effort,” he added.


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