The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report published by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is out now. The headline is that the world has missed all 20 of the Aichi biodiversity targets, in what the RSPB describes as “a lost decade for nature”.

In the marine environment, protected areas have increased from 3 – 7%, against a target of 10%. A third of marine fish stocks are overfished – a higher proportion than ten years ago. Unsustainable bycatch of non-target species is still of concern in many fisheries. Plastic pollution continues to increase with largely unknown consequences. The target to maintain the integrity and functioning of coral reefs was missed, with multiple stressors on top of climate change contributing to the degradation of 60% of coral reefs.

The authors of the report point to funding as a particular problem. Funding for activities that support biodiversity is around $80-90 bn, well below the hundreds of billions needed. Huge sums are instead pouring into harmful subsidies and activities that degrade biodiversity: $500 bn on fossil fuels alone.

Only 6 of the 20 goals set in Japan in 2010 at the beginning of the UN Decade of Biodiversity have been partially achieved, these include a reduction in the rate of deforestation and the eradication of invasive species from islands.

There is some progress – virtually all countries are taking steps for biodiversity without which the picture would be much worse. There is also greater awareness of the importance of biodiversity.

Looking forward the report contains several recommendations, or “transitions”, which map out a scenario for a world in which “business as usual” is halted, and environmental devastation is reversed. Read the summary report here.

The final negotiations for the next set of targets will take place at the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) in May 2021 in Kunming, China.

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Sep 21, 2020 By guba