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Biodiversity A Global Outlook

10. Are we on track for meeting the 2010 BiodiversityTarget?

  • 10.1 How good are prospects for achieving the different sub-targets?
  • 10.2 How well are the factors causing the loss of biodiversity being addressed?
  • 10.3 How well is biodiversity integrated in economic and development planning?

On the basis of both an analysis of current trends and different plausible scenarios explored, it is projected that biodiversity loss, and in particular the loss of species diversity and transformation of habitats, is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and certainly beyond 2010. This is largely due to inertia in ecological and human systems and to the fact that the drivers of biodiversity loss are themselves broadly constant or increasing.

“Unprecedented additional efforts” will be needed to achieve the 2010 Biodiversity Target at national, regional and global levels. Meeting the 2010 Target is a considerable, but not impossible, challenge. For the most part, the tools needed to achieve the 2010 target, including programmes of work, principles and guidelines, have already been developed within the framework of the Convention,and will have to be used more effectively if progress is to be made towards achieving the target. More...

10.1 How good are prospects for achieving the different sub-targets?

It is too soon to assess progress towards the goals and targets set by the Convention. However, the prospects for achievement can already be analysed on the basis of current trends and through consideration of plausible future scenarios, as was done as part of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Prospects for achievement are better for some targets than others. The Assessment confirms that it is possible to achieve many of the targets aimed at protecting the components of biodiversity if the response options that are already incorporated into the Convention on Biological Diversity are implemented. However, it appears highly unlikely that all the targets aimed at addressing threats to biodiversity could be achieved globally by 2010, although some may be achieved at smaller scales. More...

Table 4.1: Prospects for achieving the targets of the framework for assessing progress towards the 2010 Biodiversity Target

10.2 How well are the factors causing the loss of biodiversity being addressed?

Most of the direct drivers of biodiversity loss—habitat change, climate change, invasive alien species, overexploitation, and pollution—are projected to either remain constant or to increase in the near future. Progress in addressing biodiversity loss will require additional actions to address the main direct drivers of biodiversity loss, and the programmes of work of the Convention on Biological Diversity could be better prioritized and refocused to better address drivers of biodiversity loss.

Issues of land-use change arising from agriculture need to be addressed more directly, including in the context of the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity. Degradation in drylands, another major concern for terrestrial ecosystems, is squarely addressed by the Convention’s programme of work on the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands.

Some response measures to overfishing identified by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, such as the establishment of marine protected areas, are already included in the programme of work on marine and coastal biodiversity, but must be put into practice as a matter of urgency. The programme of work also calls for activities to eliminate destructive fishing practices, and restore and maintain fisheries stocks to sustainable levels by the year 2015, but this is not a primary focus.

The nutrient loading issue is not fully integrated into all of the relevant programmes of work (including, notably, the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity). Addressing nutrient loading will require both the promotion of increased efficiency of nitrogen use and the conservation of wetlands to maintain or increase their capacity to filter and remove excess nutrients.

Climate change is a threat that must be addressed urgently, including through commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, in order to lessen dangerous impacts on ecosystems. At the same time, activities aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity need to take climate change fully into account.

Whereas the various programmes of work already consider the impacts of invasive alien species once introduced, further work is needed to strengthen preventative measures. More...

10.3 How well is biodiversity integrated in economic and development planning?

The imperative to integrate biodiversity concerns into economic and development planning, programmes and policies is clearly stressed in the Convention, highlighted in the Strategic Plan, and reinforced by the findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Engaging the main actors in key economic sectors will not only serve to directly address the drivers of biodiversity loss, but will also ensure wider awareness of biodiversity issues. With wider awareness will come the increased political will and additional resources necessary to bring about positive change. More...

10.3.1 It is important to integrate biodiversity concerns into the energy sector , given that climate change is an increasingly significant driver of biodiversity loss and that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity can contribute both to mitigation and adaptation measures. More...

10.3.2 The food and agriculture sector contributes to pressures on biodiversity primarily through land-use change – which is expected to remain the the largest driver of biodiversity loss beyond 2010 and at least to 2050 – but also through nutrient loading and overexploitation of wild resources.

These pressures point to an approach to minimizing biodiversity loss which includes:

  • sustainably improving agricultural efficiency;
  • planning agricultural expansion more effectively to avoid reducing habitats of high biodiversity value;
  • moderating the demand for food, especially meat, and reducing waste;
  • halting over-fishing and destructive fishing practices; and
  • protecting critical ecosystems and habitats.

To implement these approaches, a mix of planning, regulations and incentive measures will be required. Improved public understanding and better valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services will also be an important part of the necessary actions. More...

10.3.3 Since economic development, including food and agricultural production, is strongly affected by policies on trade, biodiversity concerns need to be integrated into trade discussions. Trade liberalization is projected to lead, in the short term, to acceleration in the rate of biodiversity loss in some regions and countries, unless accompanied by proactive measures to conserve biodiversity. More...

10.3.4 Economic development is essential to meeting the Millennium Development Goals, yet long-term sustainability will be undermined if biodiversity issues are not taken into account. Furthermore, many of the actions that could be taken to eradicate extreme poverty are likely to accelerate biodiversity loss in the short term. The existence of trade-offs, but also of potential synergies, implies that environmental considerations, including those related to biodiversity, should be integrated into the implementation of all of the relevant Millennium Development Goals. More...

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