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Part 2: Results of past & present action plans, objectives, actions and means required at the horizon 2030

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Context - The Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) is the flagship publication of the international Convention on Biological Diversity, summarizing the status and trends of biodiversity and drawing conclusions relevant to the further implementation of the Convention.

Given the importance of the subject and the amount of facts on the subjects these Highlights of the GBO5 report are divided into three separate parts:

Part 1: Highlights the context of the Convention and its objectives and the present global status of biodiversity

Part 2: Highlights the results of past & present action plans, objectives, actions and means at the horizon 2030

Part 3: Highlights of the pathways to the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity

This is a faithful summary of the leading report produced in 2020 by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): " Global Biodiversity Outlook 5" 

  • Source document:CBD (2020)
  • Summary & Details: GreenFacts
Latest update: 22 July 2021

1. What are the key lessons emerging from this 5th Global Diversity Outlook?

While there has been significant progress towards most of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets that had been set for 2020, none has been fully achieved. Overall, biodiversity loss is continuing, despite substantial ongoing efforts for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. While current conservation and management actions are having positive impacts, their effects are overwhelmed by the growing pressures on biodiversity, which, in turn, are related to increased levels of consumption of food, energy and materials and to the development of infrastructure.

Consequently, the world is not on track to achieve most of the current globally agreed targets for biodiversity, or for land degradation or climate change, nor the other Sustainable Development Goals.

In this context, three key points emerge from this Global Outlook:

  1. Governments will need to scale up national ambitions in support of the new Global Biodiversity Framework;

  2. Countries will need to redouble efforts to bring biodiversity into the mainstream of decision making;

  3. This Outlook offers positive and compelling messages about working with nature to address the multiple challenges of achieving sustainable development, slowing climate change and reversing biodiversity loss.

2. What are the global key achievements of the biodiversity conservation actions between 2011 and 2020 relative to the Aichi Targets?

The overall assessment at global level for each Aichi Biodiversity Target shows that none of the 20 targets have been fully achieved, though six targets have been partially achieved (see table below).

2020 : Progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets
Level of achievementConfidence of the resultLevel of achievementConfidence of the result
1. Awareness of biodiversity increasedNot achievedLow11. Protected areasPartially achievedHigh
2. Biodiversity values integratedNot achievedMedium12. Reducing risk of extinctionNot achieved High
3. Incentives reformedNot achievedMedium13. Safeguarding genetic diversityNot achievedMedium
4. Sustainable production & consumptionNot achievedHigh14. Ecosystems servicesNot achievedMedium
5. Habitat loss halved or reducedNot achievedHigh15. Ecosystem restoration & resilienceNot achievedMedium
6. Sustainable management of aquatic living resourcesNot achievedHigh16. Benefits from genetic rsources Partially achivedHigh
7. Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestryNot achievedHigh17. Biodiversity strategies & action plansPartially achievedHigh
8. Pollution reducedNot achievedMedium18. Traditional knowledgeNot achievedLow
9. Invasive alien species prevented & controlledPartially achievedMedium19. Sharing information and knowledgePartially achieved Medium
10. Ecosystems vulnerable to climate changeNot achievedHigh20. mobilizing resources from all sourcesPartially achieved High

Species continue to move, on average, closer to extinction. However, the slower rate of extinction suggests that some progress has been made. Recent conservation actions have indeed reduced the number of extinctions through a range of measures, including protected areas, hunting restrictions, the control of invasive alien species, ex-situ conservation and re-introduction. Without such actions, extinctions of birds and mammals in the past decade would likely have been two to four times higher.

There has been also a substantial increase in the data and information on biodiversity available to citizens, researchers and policy makers, including through the efforts of citizen science and financial resources available for biodiversity through international flows have doubled.

Many countries have introduced biodiversity-relevant taxes, fees and charges, and tradeable permits. The number of businesses taking biodiversity into account in their supply chains, reporting processes and activities appears to be increasing, though information is limited.

The proportion of the planet’s land and oceans designated as protected areas is likely to reach the targets for 2020 and may be exceeded. However, progress has been more modest towards making protected areas more ecologically representative and encompassing areas of importance for biodiversity.

3. What are the main lessons learned from the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020?

These lessons suggest that there is no single solution to improving the design and implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and that a range of changes may be required:

  1. Increasing efforts to address the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss;

  2. Strengthening the integration of gender, the role of indigenous peoples and local communities and stakeholder engagement;

  3. Strengthening national biodiversity strategies and action plans and associated planning processes;
  4. Well-designed, ‘SMART’ goals and targets;

  5. Increasing the ambition of national commitments;

  6. The need to reduce time lags in planning and account for time lags in implementation;

  7. The need for effective review and sustained and targeted support to countries;

  8. The need for learning and adaptive management;

  9. The need for attention to implementation.

4. What were the significant progress made in the fields of fisheries, invasive species, sustainable agriculture and poverty?

There are important signs of progress across the fisheries that were subject to scientific assessment, despite the overall negative trends. Such fisheries have been increasing in number and now account for about half of global marine catches. There have also been some notable successes recently in reducing overfishing by addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

On identifying and prioritizing invasive alien species, good progress has also been made during the past decade. Successful programmes to eradicate invasive alien species, have benefited native species. Preventing introductions in the first place is likely to be far more cost-effective than attempting to eradicate alien species once they become established and start to impact native species.

There has been a substantial expansion of efforts over recent years to promote sustainable agriculture, forestry and aquaculture, including through farmer-led agroecological approaches. An analysis also suggests that developing countries, especially in Africa, show a greater awareness of the importance of biodiversity to key productive sectors including agriculture, forestry and fisheries, than developed countries.

Meanwhile, although natural resources are being used more efficiently, the aggregated demand for resources continues to increase, and therefore the impacts of their use remain well above safe ecological limits.

Regarding development and poverty reduction, there is less evidence however that biodiversity has been truly integrated into planning as required by the target.

5. What were more specifically the results related to the Goals and actions of the Strategic Plan on underlying causes and pressures on biodiversity and its status?

The results to actions can be considered relative to their 5 main Goals:

1. Actions on the underlying causes of biodiversity loss (Goal A):

  • almost 100 countries have incorporated biodiversity values into national accounting systems;

2. Actions on the direct pressures on biodiversity (Goal B):

  • The rate of deforestation has fallen globally by about a third compared to the previous decade (Target 5);
  • The abundance of marine fish stocks has been maintained or rebuilt where good fisheries management policies have been introduced (Target 6);
  • An increasing number of successful cases of eradication of invasive alien species from islands, have been registred (Target 9).

3. Actions related to the status of biodiversity (Goal C):

  • There has been significant expansion of the protected areas, both in terms of total areas and of the areas of particular importance for biodiversity (Target 11);
  • Recent conservation actions have reduced the number of extinctions (Target 12).

4. Actions to maintain the capacity of ecosystems to provide the essential services on which societies depend (Goal D):

  • These continues to decline, and consequently, most ecosystem services (nature’s contributions to people) are in decline;
  • Poor and vulnerable communities, as well as women, are in general disproportionately affected by this decline;
  • Mammal and bird species responsible for pollination are on average moving closer to extinction, as are species used for food and medicine.

5. Actions to enable implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 (Goal E):

  • The Nagoya Protocol has come into force in at least 87 countries and internationally (Target 16);
  • National biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs)1 have been updated in 170 countries, 85% of CBD Parties (Target 17).
  • There has been a substantial increase in the data and information available on biodiversity to citizens, researchers and policy makers, including through the efforts of citizen science (Target 19).
  • Financial resources available for biodiversity have doubled through international flows(Target 20).

6. What do the pathways to a sustainable biodiversity future require?

The pathways to a sustainable future rely on recognizing that bold and systemic interdependent actions are particularly needed across a number of fronts, each of which is necessary and none of which is sufficient on its own.

Solutions need to seek an integrated approach that simultaneously address the conservation of genetic diversity, species and ecosystems, the capacity of nature to deliver material benefits to human societies, and the connections with nature that help to define our identities, cultures and beliefs.

Unless tackled together with the other areas, even the most intensive efforts in each of these areas will not succeed in ‘bending the curve’ of biodiversity loss.

Greatly stepping up efforts is mandatory to conserve and restore biodiversity and each of the measures necessary to achieve the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity requires a significant shift away from ‘business as usual’ across a broad range of human activities.

Specific efforts needed to reduce biodiversity loss include:

  1. Greater efforts to address the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, including through integrated and holistic approaches to planning and implementation, and greater interaction among government ministries, economic sectors and society generally;

  2. To strengthen further the integration of gender, of indigenous peoples and local communities and the level of stakeholder engagement;

  3. To strengthen national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and associated planning processes, including their adoption as whole-of-government policy instruments;

  4. Well-designed goals and targets formulated with clear, and, simple language, and with quantitative elements (i.e. according to ‘SMART’ criteria);

  5. To reduce time lags in planning and implementation of biodiversity strategies and action plans, and to account for unavoidable time lags in implementation;

  6. Increased ambition of national commitments, and for the regular and effective review of national activities;

  7. Learning and adaptive management, including through greater efforts to facilitate technical and scientific cooperation, and to understand the reasons for the effectiveness or otherwise of policy measures;

  8. Greater attention to implementation, and sustained and targeted support to countries.

7. How can traditional knowledge and practices be harnessed for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity?

There has been an increase in the recognition of the value of traditional knowledge and customary sustainable use, both in global policy forums and in the scientific community. Numerous examples have demonstrated the ways in which bringing traditional knowledge together with science can lead to constructive solutions to various challenges, band lead to the development of policies which are more tailored to on-the-ground realities.

However, despite progress in some countries, there is limited information indicating that traditional knowledge and customary sustainable use have been widely respected and/or reflected in national legislation related to the implementation of the Convention or on the extent to which indigenous peoples and local communities are effectively participating in associated processes.

There is often a lack of communication between indigenous peoples and local communities and the scientific community and assessments of biodiversity often do not take local and traditional knowledge into account.

8. How was the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 funded?

Progress on identifying funding needs, gaps and priorities and the development of national financial plans and assessments of biodiversity values has been limited to relatively few countries.

Nevertheless, Financial resources available for biodiversity through international flows and official development assistance has roughly doubled.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is the financial mechanism of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Between 2006-2010 and 2018-2022, funding directly relevant to biodiversity provided through the GEF increased by more than 30%, reaching about $1.3 billion.

International public biodiversity finance was estimated to be about $ 3.9 billion per year between 2015 and 2017 for finance that has biodiversity as a principal focus, and $ 9.3 billion per year if other finance with significant elements related to biodiversity is included, reflecting roughly a doubling over the decade. Funding to support other international objectives, such as combatting climate change, often directly or indirectly also supports biodiversity objectives.

However, when all sources of biodiversity finance are taken into account, the increase in biodiversity financing would not appear to be sufficient in relation to needs. Moreover, these resources are swamped by support for activities harmful to biodiversity. (Aichi Target 3).

1 National mainstreamed into the planning and activities of all those sectors whose activities can have an impact, whether positive or negative, on biodiversity biodiversity strategies and action plans(NBSAPs) are the principal instruments for implementing the Convention at the national level.
mainstreamed into the planning and activities of all those sectors whose activities can have an impact, whether positive or negative, on biodiversity

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