UN fails to protect biodiversity

(Paris) States have over the past decade failed to deliver on their pledges to conserve biodiversity that suddenly collapses, a UN report warns Tuesday, in the midst of negotiations to define a new plan for the 2020-2030 period.

Posted on September 15, 2020 at 10:18 AM

Laure FILLON
France Media Agency

The finding, confirmed by the recent WWF report, is clear: between 1970 and 2016, 68% of wildlife disappeared, mainly due to human activity. Ecosystems are affected and threaten the human race itself, which depends on them for air, drinking water, food …

In 2010, the approximately 190 member states of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a strategic plan for 2020 to preserve biological diversity and reduce human pressure.

These 20 goals, known as Aichi goals, have been assessed by the CBD to measure progress and learn lessons for the future.

And the record is bad. “Globally, none of the 20 goals has been fully met, although six of them have been partially met,” notes the UN in its Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report.

These goals have included preventing the extinction of endangered species, reducing or even eliminating government subsidies that contribute to the destruction of biodiversity, sustainably managing fish stocks or even reducing plastic pollution from pesticides and fertilizers. .

“Some progress has been made […]For example, deforestation has decreased by a third, fisheries management has improved and the surface area of ​​protected areas has increased […]reducing species extinction, ”Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, secretary of the CBD, told AFP.

But the UN is concerned about the recent trend change in the Brazilian Amazon in terms of deforestation, protection is not always effective in protected areas.

Another concern: Funding for biodiversity has certainly doubled, but subsidies to harmful sectors, estimated at $ 500 billion, of which 100 billion for agriculture, are much more important.

New plan for 2030

The report recommends fundamental changes in eight areas: land and forest use, agriculture, food system, fisheries and oceans, cities, clean water, fight against climate change and health.

Specifically, it recommends preserving or restoring terrestrial and maritime ecosystems, developing agroecology, reducing food waste, having a moderate meat and fish consumption, giving space to nature in the city, drawing inspiration from nature to combat climate change and promote healthy ecosystems for the good health of people.

“We are in the process of systematically exterminating all living non-human beings,” warns Anne Larigauderie, executive secretary of IPBES, the UN panel of experts on biodiversity.

However, it is not too late to take action, she assures. “There is much less inertia than with the climate, biodiversity is returning very quickly,” she explains.

This report is presented while a new 2030 action plan is being negotiated.

The schedule has been turned upside down by the coronavirus epidemic. The 15th meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), scheduled to take place in China in October, has been postponed to 2021.

The World Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), already postponed from June 2020 to January 2021, could still be delayed.

If negotiations are delayed by the pandemic, “it has led many people to realize that there is something wrong with the relationship between us and the rest of nature,” hopes David Cooper, lead author of the report.

If the new goals to protect biodiversity are finally to be successful, they will have to be “ambitious, but also quantified”, defends Anne Larigauderie.

“We will have new goals. But the problem in the past was not the objectives, it was the implementation of them, ”adds David Cooper, who“ will certainly need more resources ”.

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