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The UN Convention on Biological Diversity has released its fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook report which says that none of the 20 agreed conservation targets of the past 10 years could be fully met by the world . Experts believe that all nations will now have to implement the ambitious new target of protecting at least 30% of the planet by 2030 – popularly known as 30×30 target – under the UN Convention.

Aichi Targets:

The ‘Aichi Targets’ were adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at its Nagoya conference. It is a short term plan provides a set of 20ambitious yet achievable targets, collectively known as the Aichi Targets. They can be divided into:

  • Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society.
  • Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.
  • Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.
  • Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building.

The fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook report:

  • It published by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in September 2020, warns starkly that the world has so far failed to halt the destruction of wildlife and life-sustaining ecosystems.
  • The report provides a global summary of progress made towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
  • The report shows that none of the Aichi Biodiversity targets, which are a set of 20 targets adopted in 2010 by parties around biodiversity, have been met.
  • However, some progress has been made in countries and areas, especially where appropriate policies were put into place.
  • In 2021 the world will have a new chance to renew our relationship with nature by adopting a new Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework during the CBD fifteenth meeting of parties (COP).

Highlights and Analysis:

  • Targets: None of the 20 Aichi biodiversity targets has been achieved in full, with only 6 partially met (targets 9, 11, 16, 17, 19 and 20).
  • Significantly worsening trends are reported especially in targets relating to the drivers of biodiversity loss and to the current state of biodiversity itself.
  • Most progress has been made in the following areas:
  • Almost 100 countries have incorporated biodiversity values into national accounting systems (target 2).
  • Deforestation has fallen by about a third compared to the previous decade (target 5).
  • Good fisheries management policies implemented have led to marine fish stocks being maintained or rebuilt (target 6).
  • Progress made on eradication of invasive alien species from islands, and of the targeting of priority species and pathways to avoid future invasive species introductions (target 9).
  • There has been significant expansion of the protected area estate, increasing over the last decade from 10% to at least 15% terrestrially, and from about 3% to at least 7% in marine areas. The protection of areas of particular importance for biodiversity has also increased from 29% to 44% (target 11).
  • Conservation actions have reduced the number of extinctions without which extinctions of birds and mammals in the past decade would likely have been two to four times higher (target 12).
  • The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization is now fully operational in at least 87 countries (target 16).
  • National biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) have been updated in line with the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 by 170 countries, i.e. 85% of CBD Parties.
  • There has been a substantial increase in the data and information on biodiversity available to citizens, researchers and policy makers, including through the efforts of citizen science (target 19).
  • Financial resources available for biodiversity through international flows have doubled (target 20).
  • National targets are not well aligned to the Aichi targets, in terms of scope and the level of ambition (only 23% of the targets are well aligned).
  • Subsidies: Government subsidies to agriculture, fossil fuels and fishing are having a harmful effect.
  • Subsidies need to be rebalanced to promote healthy, sustainable diets and reduce food waste.
  • The report prioritizes several actions that need to be addressed to achieve the 2050 Vision:
  • Efforts to conserve and restore biodiversity need to be scaled up. These need to combine increases in the extent and effectiveness of well-connected protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, largescale restoration of degraded habitats, and improvements in the condition of nature across farmed and urban landscapes as well as inland water bodies, coasts and oceans.
  • Efforts to keep climate change well below 2 degrees Celsius and close to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels are needed.
  • Nature-based solutions can play an important role of adaptation to climate change.
  • Remaining pressures driving biodiversity loss must be addressed, including invasive alien species, pollution and the unsustainable exploitation of biodiversity especially in marine and inland water ecosystems.
  • Transformations need to be achieved in the production of goods and services, especially food. This will include adopting agricultural methods that can meet growing global demand while imposing fewer negative impacts on the environment and reducing the pressure to convert more land to production.
  • Demand for increased food production must be limited by adopting healthier diets and reducing food waste, including limiting the consumption of other material goods and services affecting biodiversity, for example in forestry, energy and provision of fresh water.

Benefits of Biodiversity conservation:

  • Nature provides ecosystem services which are vital for food production, for clean air and water, provision of fuel for millions, absorption of carbon in the atmosphere, and climate moderation.
  • Conservation of biological diversity leads to conservation of essential ecological diversity to preserve the continuity of food chains.
  • The genetic diversity of plants and animals is preserved.
  • It ensures the sustainable utilisation of life support systems on earth.
  • It provides a vast knowledge of potential use to the scientific community.
  • A reservoir of wild animals and plants is preserved, thus enabling them to be introduced, if need be, in the surrounding areas.
  • Biological diversity provides immediate benefits to the society such as recreation and tourism.
  • Biodiversity conservation serves as an insurance policy for the future.

Way forward and Conclusion:

  • This mid-term report on the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 suggests that the majority of its targets are still achievable, if challenging to meet.
  • Achieving these targets requires innovative and bold action in many areas, and a sustained focus on biodiversity in a wide range of policy areas for the second half of this decade.
  • Success stories have demonstrated that effective action comes from simultaneously addressing multiple causes of biodiversity loss through monitoring and data analysis, changing economic incentives, applying market pressures, enforcing rules and regulations, involving indigenous and local communities and stakeholders and targeting conservation of threatened species and ecosystems—among many other routes to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
  • Many of the measures required to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets will also support the goals of greater food security, healthier populations and improved access to clean water and sustainable energy for all. The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 is thus part of the agenda for sustainable development. There is a need to accelerate our actions to seize the opportunity to live in harmony with nature.
  • One of our last and best opportunities to halt biodiversity loss and put nature on a path to recovery is through adopting a transformational global biodiversity framework at the CBD CoP 15 and swiftly and fully implementing the goals outlined in that plan shortly thereafter.
  • Leaders must adopt and implement a target to fully and highly protect at least 30 percent of the global ocean and 30 percent of land areas and inland waters by 2030 through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative, and well-connected systems of protected areas.
  • This plan, known as 30×30,  so far the governments of more than 40 nations, numerous nongovernmental organizations, and prominent scientists and experts around the world support this ambitious framework. This plan additionally calls on the world to strengthen conservation of all remaining areas to stem biodiversity loss, preserve ecosystem services and combat and build resilience to climate change.
  • Achieving this plan will be challenging, but anything less will not meet the scale of the crisis at hand.