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

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, 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. However, this assessment provides further evidence that when well implemented, conservation actions and broader policy measures are effective. There is an urgent need to build upon the progress made, learning from the examples of success, so as to tackle the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss and realize the benefits of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use for people. Potential pathways towards the goal of ‘living in harmony with nature’ are explored the GBO5 report.

    In this context, three key lessons emerging from this Outlook and highlighted by the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity Elizabeth Maruma Mrema with regard to the actions that countries must take to achieve the original objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, more than a quarter of a century after they were adopted by the global community. These lessons are :

    • Governments will need to scale up national ambitions in support of the new Global Biodiversity Framework and ensure that all necessary resources are mobilized and the enabling environment strengthened. Few countries succeeded yet in meeting national targets with the same scope and ambition as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed at the global level;
    • Countries will need to redouble efforts to bring biodiversity into the mainstream of decision making, recognizing that the pressures threatening nature and its contributions to people can only be eased if biodiversity is explicitly factored into policies across the whole of government and among all economic sectors;
    • 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. It also points to the range of transitions that are needed in every aspect of people’s interface with nature. The incipient examples of these transitions need to be further built on, scaled up and nurtured.

    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, If the proportion of livestock breeds that are at risk or extinct is increasing, it is at a slower rate than in earlier years, suggesting some progress in preventing the decline of traditional breeds. The number of extinctions of birds and mammals would likely have been at least two to four times higher without conservation actions over the past decade. 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.

      Reports by countries to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on the State of the World’s Biodiversity in Food and Agriculture also describe an increasing use of biodiversity-friendly practices.

      There are some notable examples of progress in addressing the direct drivers of biodiversity loss in particular for Land-use change, Overexploitation, such as fisheries management, Pollution such as examples of reducing pollution from excess nitrogen-based fertilizers and Invasive alien species. Also in the development of national biodiversity strategies and action plans and the increasing number of countries incorporating biodiversity values into national accounting systems or successful programmes to restore degraded ecosystems.

      On average, countries report that more than 1/3 of all national targets are on track to be met or even exceeded. However, as noted in the target assessments, national targets are generally poorly aligned with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, in terms of scope and the level of ambition. Notably, recent conservation actions have reduced the number of extinctions. It is estimated that without such actions, extinctions of bird and mammal species would have been between two and four times their actual level over the past decade.

      There has also been significant expansion of the protected area estate increasing over the 2000-2020 period. 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 when other effective area-based conservation measures and future national commitments are taken into account. Where local people were explicitly involved as stakeholders in the co-management of protected areas, both conservation and socioeconomic outcomes were improved. Recent growth in the global protected area network has been greatest in parts of the marine environment, with the total extent of marine protected areas almost ten times greater in 2020 than in 2000.

      However, progress has been more modest towards making protected areas more ecologically representative, and encompassing areas of importance for biodiversity in ensuring that protected areas safeguard the most important areas for biodiversity, are ecologically representative, connected to one another as well as to the wider landscape and seascape and are equitably and effectively managed. Maintaining or creating connections for nature between protected areas, across landscapes and seascapes, and through freshwater basins – referred to as ecological connectivity – is indeed an essential component of effective conservation.

      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?

          Across fisheries that have been subject to scientific stock assessments there are globally also important signs of progress 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. Inland water ecosystems are also under multiple and synergistic pressures and their effective management is therefore integral to the conservation of freshwater biodiversity.

          With regard to vulnerable ecosystems, some progress has been made in designating and protecting areas of the High Seas as Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) and significant progress has been made under the Convention to describe Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs).

          On identifying and prioritizing invasive alien species, good progress has also been made during the past decade in terms of the risk they present, as well as in the feasibility of managing them. Successful programmes to eradicate invasive alien species, especially invasive mammals on islands, have benefited native species. Such eradications have benefited more than one hundred highly threatened species of birds, mammals and reptiles. There are far fewer examples of successful efforts to eradicate invasive alien species in continental ecosystems and 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.

          To promote sustainable agriculture, forestry and aquaculture, there has been a substantial expansion of efforts over recent years, including through farmer-led agroecological approaches. The use of fertilizers and pesticides has stabilized globally, though at high levels. 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. As results related to actions on the underlying causes of biodiversity loss (Goal A), almost 100 countries have incorporated biodiversity values into national accounting systems.

            2. As results related to 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, involving stock assessments, catch limits, and enforcement, (Target 6) ;
            • An increasing number of successful cases of eradication of invasive alien species from islands, have been registred and of the targeting of priority species and pathways to avoid future invasive species introductions (Target 9).

            As results related to actions related to the status of biodiversity (Goal C):

            • There has been significant expansion of the protected area estate, increasing over the 2000-2020 period from about 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% over the same time period (Target 11) ;
            • Recent conservation actions have 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(Target 12). Without such actions, extinctions of birds and mammals in the past decade would likely have been 2 to 4 times higher.

            4. As results related to 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.

            As results related to actions to measures enabling implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 (Goal E):

            • The Nagoya Protocol has come into force with its Access to Genetic Resources and its Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization now fully operational in at least 87 countries and internationally (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, 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).

            Also, a large number of national indicators have been developed by Parties to support implementation of the Convention, although their use remains uneven and with variable alignment to the globally-agreed targets. On average, the number of indicators used was 84, a significant increase from the average of 49 used in the previous national reports.

            6. What are the main challenges encountered to reaching the target of the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs)?

              Commonly reported challenges to reaching this target were the lack of indicators to monitor the use of the NBSAP as a policy instrument, limited resources to implement NBSAPs, and the fact that many NBSAPs were only recently adopted. For example, reviews have found that only about half of NBSAPs contain references to gender and women.

              Additional challenges are related to the development, revision or update of NBSAPs. Only 69 NBSAPs have been adopted as whole-of-government instruments and another 8 have been adopted as instruments applying to the environmental sector.

              Few of the revised NBSAPs contain resource mobilization strategies (25 Parties), communication and public awareness strategies (38 Parties), capacity development strategies (97 Parties) or reflect gender considerations (76 Parties).

              7. What is particularly required in the pathways to a sustainable biodiversity future?

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

                Navigating the available pathways to the 2050 vision involves consideration of all the multiple aspects of our relationship with nature and the importance we attach to it. Solutions need to seek an integrated approach that simultaneously address the conservation of the planet’s genetic diversity, species and ecosystems, the capacity of nature to deliver material benefits to human societies, and the less tangible but highly-valued 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, Combining actions across all areas will make each of them easier to achieve, due to the connections and synergies between them.

                For example, unless equally ambitious steps are taken to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and adopt more sustainable diets, the most ambitious measures to conserve and restore ecosystems will fail to address biodiversity loss and food security.

                Such broader approach to sustainability involves thus better understanding the common factors that can influence fundamental changes in institutions, governance, values and behaviour, essential to bringing about the transitions described in this Outlook. The IPBES Global Assessment has identified 8 priority points for intervention, or leverage points, with five associated ‘levers’ – incentives and capacity building, coordination across sectors and jurisdictions, pre-emptive action, adaptive decision-making and environmental law and implementation – that may be targeted by leaders in government, business, civil society and academia to spark transformative changes towards a more just and sustainable world.

                8. What are the efforts and mandatory needs that emerge from the Global Outlook 5 on the present biodiversity situations?

                  An integrated2 mix of actions greatly stepping up efforts is mandatory to conserve and restore biodiversity, addressing climate change in ways that limit global temperature rise without imposing unintended additional pressures on biodiversity, and transforming the way in which we produce, consume and trade goods and services, most particularly food, that rely on and have an impact on biodiversity.

                  Many countries report examples of incorporating biodiversity into various planning and development processes. There has been a steady upward trend of countries incorporating biodiversity values into national accounting and reporting systems. At the same time, there is less evidence that biodiversity has been truly integrated into development and poverty reduction planning as required by the target.

                  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. The shape and nature of such transformative change can already be identified through a series of transitions under way to a limited extent in key areas. This Outlook examines the promise, progress and prospects for the following interdependent transitions, that collectively can move societies into a more sustainable co-existence with nature.

                  The actions required to slow, halt and eventually reverse current trends in the decline of biodiversity are fully consistent with, and indeed crucial components of, the goals and targets set out under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

                  The efforts to conserve and restore biodiversity need to be scaled up at all levels using transition areas approaches that will depend on local context. These transitions areas are :

                  1. The land and forests transition;

                  2. The sustainable freshwater transition;

                  3. The sustainable fisheries and oceans transition;

                  4. The sustainable agriculture transition;

                  5. The sustainable food systems transition;

                  6. The cities and infrastructure transition;

                  7. The sustainable climate action transition;

                  8. The biodiversity-inclusive One Health transition.

                  Each of these transition areas involves recognizing the value of biodiversity, and enhancing or restoring the functionality of the ecosystems on which all aspects of human activity depend, and at the same time recognizing and reducing the negative impacts of human activity on biodiversity.

                  Thus enabling a virtuous cycle – reducing the loss and degradation of biodiversity and enhancing human well-being. The transitions will play out at a range of scales and are interdependent.

                  9. What are the specific efforts needed to reduce the loss and degradation of biodiversity and enhancing human well-being?

                    These efforts need to combine major increases in the extent and effectiveness of well-connected protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, large-scale 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.

                    These include in particular:

                    1. Still 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, the role 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.

                    More practically:

                    • Efforts to keep climate change well below 2°C and close to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels to prevent climate impacts from overwhelming all other actions in support of biodiversity. The 'nature-based solutions’ for the conservation and restoration of ecosystems can play a substantial role in the adaptation to climate change;
                    • Effective steps to address all remaining pressures driving biodiversity loss, including invasive alien species, pollution and the unsustainable exploitation of biodiversity, especially in marine and inland water ecosystems;
                    • Transformations to limit the demand for increased food production by adopting healthier diets and reducing food waste, and also in limiting the consumption of other material goods and services affecting biodiversity, for example in forestry, energy and provision of fresh water;
                    • Transformations in the production of food but also other goods and services, including the adoption of 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 food production.

                    While organic farming systems generally produce lower yields compared with conventional agriculture, they can be more profitable and environmentally friendly, and deliver equally or more nutritious foods. Organic farming may also deliver greater ecosystem services and social benefits. Through the 10x20x30 Food Loss and Waste Initiative, 10 of the world largest food retailers and providers aim to halve rates of food waste by 2030.

                    10. What about the Protocol of a fair and equitable sharing of genetic resources?

                      As of July 2020, 126 Parties to the CBD have ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits and 87 of them have put in place national access and benefit sharing measures, as well as establishing competent national authorities. The Protocol is thus considered to be operational.

                      An international legally-binding instrument under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea is negotiated that addresses access and benefit-sharing for marine genetic resources, as well as traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities associated with marine genetic resources.

                      11. 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.

                        12. What about the sharing of information relative to biodiversity?

                          Significant progress has been made since 2010 in the generation, sharing and assessment of knowledge and data on biodiversity, with big-data aggregation, advances in modelling and artificial intelligence opening up new opportunities for improved understanding of the biosphere. The growth in the availability of data and information on biodiversity is demonstrated by a number of metrics. For example, the number of species assessed for extinction risk in the IUCN Red List has doubled in the past decade, passing 120,000 species during 2020.

                          The establishment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in 2013 and the production of its various assessments including the Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services represents a major advance in the information available to support policy and decisions on biodiversity.

                          However, major imbalances remain in the location and taxonomic focus of studies and monitoring. Information gaps remain in the consequences of biodiversity loss for people, and the application of biodiversity knowledge in decision making is limited.

                          13. How was the mobilization of financial resources for effectively implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020?

                            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. There have been in particular increases in domestic resources for biodiversity in some countries, with resources remaining broadly constant for others over the past decade.

                            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, which includes official development assistance (ODA) and non-concessional flows (both bilateral and multilateral), 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).

                            14. What were the results of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) adopted in 2002?

                              At the national level, a number of countries have developed responses to the GSPC, including many of the world’s most biodiverse countries.

                              Collectively, these countries include more than 50% of the world’s plant species within their border. 61 countries reported on national progress towards the GSPC in their 6th national reports to the CBD by May 2020. Most countries report at least some progress towards all the targets, with GSPC Targets 1 (e-floras), 2 (red listing) and 14 (public awareness of plant diversity) being most likely to be achieved at the national level.

                              Despite these successes, a number of challenges have also been identified:

                              • Poor alignment between the GSPC and Aichi Targets;
                              • Mechanisms to ensure that information from global datasets feeds back to national programmes are not well developed;
                              • Lack of coordination and information sharing across sectors has constrained both efficient implementation and accurate reporting of progress;
                              • Government commitment to achieving plant conservation goals through the development of national plant conservation strategies has been demonstrated by relatively few countries.

                              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.
                              2 The Convention requires countries to prepare a national biodiversity strategy or equivalent instrument, and to ensure that this strategy is

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