Failure For Biodiversity Convention As The World Flunks On All 2020 Targets

Swathes of forest have been lost in the pursuit of palm oil for human use. Shutterstock/Rich Carey

A 2010 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBC) involving 200 governments has seen none of its 20 biodiversity targets met by the 2020 deadline. Named the Aichi targets, the 10-year challenge was pitched by leading conservations and agreed upon by representatives from countries across the globe, but it has been deemed as a “massive failure” owing to disappointing progress by the end of the decade.

A report released today by the United Nations details how only six of the 20 targets have been partially achieved: targets 9, 11, 16, 17, 19 and 20. These include cracking down on invasive species, increasing marine protected areas (MPA), changes to legislation and policy, better information sharing, and sufficient funds raised for implementing change. While these areas have seen some progress, it’s clear that not nearly enough has been achieved in the 10-year period to indicate a change in the tide on diversity depression.

"We cannot afford to ignore the findings of this major report,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General for WWF International, in a statement. “Despite some progress, the loss of nature continues unabated, highlighting not only a failure of our moral duty to preserve Earth’s diversity of life, but also the undermining of the very natural systems that support human health and the global economy. Importantly, the report also tells us that halting and reversing biodiversity loss is entirely possible, by protecting more of the remaining natural spaces, curbing wildlife overexploitation and, crucially, reforming the way we produce and consume food."

Endangered black-footed ferrets are believed to be one of seven mammalian species saved from extinction thanks to work carried out in the last ten years, but more is needed. Shutterstock/Kerry Hargrove

The report makes for a grim read and makes clear that the 10-year outcomes could have been even worse had it not been for global conservation efforts, without which the number of bird and mammal extinctions would have quadrupled. Instead, the work of conservation scientists and volunteers in the past decade has spared around seven mammalian species and 18 bird species from extinction, including the black-footed ferret photographed above.

It remains abundantly clear that significant and swift action must be taken by governments across the globe to turn around the unfavorable outcome of the 2010 Aichi targets if we’re to reverse a worrying trend in species lost, as highlighted by the recent WWF report that showed wildlife populations have fallen by nearly 70 percent in under 50 years.

"World leaders must take decisive action now – not later – to set nature on the path to recovery this decade and secure a nature-positive economy,” Lambertini continued. “They will have an important opportunity to raise ambition at the UN Summit on Biodiversity later this month ahead of the UN biodiversity negotiations next year.”


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