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Bold action needed to meet biodiversity targets: study

Oct 08, 2014

The study tracks progress and draws attention to implications on broader sustainable development this century.

New Delhi/Bangkok: Bold and innovative action is urgently required if governments are to meet the globally-agreed Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and its Aichi Targets by 2020, says a United Nations progress report on the state of global biodiversity.

Launched today one year before the halfway point of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 shows that there has been significant progress towards meeting some components of the majority of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.  However, in most cases, additional action is required to keep the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 on course.

The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, were agreed by the international community in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, and have since been re-affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly and at the Rio + 20 summit in 2012.

Meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets would contribute significantly to broader global priorities addressed by the post-2015 development agenda; namely, reducing hunger and poverty, improving human health, and ensuring a sustainable supply of energy, food and clean water.  Incorporating biodiversity into the sustainable development goals, currently under discussion, provides an opportunity to bring biodiversity into the mainstream of decision-making.

However, reaching these joint objectives requires changes in society, including much more efficient use of land, water, energy and materials, rethinking our consumption habits and, in particular, major transformations of food production systems.

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, underlined the linkage between biodiversity and sustainable development:  “I urge Member States and stakeholders everywhere to take GBO4’s conclusions into account in their planning, recognize that biodiversity contributes to solving the sustainable development challenges we face, and redouble efforts to achieve our shared goals,” he said.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said, "The responsible management of our planet's biodiversity is motivated not only by a shared sense of responsibility to future generations. The factors prompting policy makers to safeguard biodiversity are increasingly economic in nature. Without healthy biodiversity, livelihoods, ecosystem services, habitats and food security will be compromised."

"Actions to reduce biodiversity loss will inevitably support a broad range of societal benefits and lay the groundwork for the socio-economic transition to a more sustainable and inclusive model of development," he added.

“The good news is that Parties are making progress and concrete commitments to implement the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, UN Assistant-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  “However, the report also shows us that efforts need to be significantly scaled-up if the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 is to be implemented and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets achieved.”

“Our efforts can and must be strengthened by combining actions that address multiple drivers of biodiversity loss and multiple targets. The world increasingly understands the critical links between biodiversity and sustainable development. Measures required to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets also support the goals of greater food security, healthier populations and improved access to clean water for all,” he said.

With the progress achieved to date, plausible pathways exist for realising an end to biodiversity loss, along with achieving global goals related to addressing climate change, land degradation and sustainable development.

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