“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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.