World Leaders Failed to Reduce The Global Rate of Biodiversity Loss by 2010 | b l o g o d r i l

18 May 2010

World Leaders Failed to Reduce The Global Rate of Biodiversity Loss by 2010

The target agreed by the world's Governments in 2002, "to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth", has not been met.

"We need a new vision for biological diversity for a healthy planet and a sustainable future for humankind," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes in the forward of the report produced by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3), "To tackle the root causes of biodiversity loss, we must give it higher priority in all areas of decision-making and in all economic sectors."

Based on scientific assessments, some 110 national reports and future scenarios for biodiversity, Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) shows that world leaders failed to deliver on their commitment to reduce the global rate of biodiversity loss by this year.

There are multiple indications of continuing decline in biodiversity in all three of its main components - genes, species and ecosystems - including:

  • Species which have been assessed for extinction risk are on average moving closer to extinction. Amphibians face the greatest risk and coral species are deteriorating most rapidly in status. Nearly a quarter of plant species are estimated to be threatened with extinction.

  • The abundance of vertebrate species, based on assessed populations, fell by nearly a third on average between 1970 and 2006, and continues to fall globally, with especially severe declines in the tropics and among freshwater species.

  • Natural habitats in most parts of the world continue to decline in extent and integrity, although there has been significant progress in slowing the rate of loss for tropical forests and mangroves, in some regions. Freshwater wetlands, sea ice habitats, salt marshes, coral reefs, seagrass beds and shellfish reefs are all showing serious declines.

  • Extensive fragmentation and degradation of forests, rivers and other ecosystems have also led to loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

  • Crop and livestock genetic diversity continues to decline in agricultural systems.

  • The five principal pressures directly driving biodiversity loss (habitat change, overexploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change) are either constant or increasing in intensity.

  • The ecological footprint of humanity exceeds the biological capacity of the Earth by a wider margin than at the time the 2010 target was agreed.

  • The consequences of this collective failure, if it is not quickly corrected, will be severe for us all.

    Biodiversity underpins the functioning of the ecosystems on which we depend for food and fresh water, health and recreation, and protection from natural disasters. Its loss also affects us culturally and spiritually.

    "Business as usual is no longer an option if we are to avoid irreversible damage to the life-support systems of our planet," said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, calling the report "a wake-up call for humanity." More serious than economic meltdown !

    The press release, regional summaries of GBO-3 and other material are accessible on the Resources page.

    Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Global Biodiversity Outlook 3

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