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Only a handful of countries on track to meet their biodiversity goals, assessment shows

At the Convention on Biological Diversity today, global conservation NGOs released a report revealing that just 5 percent of countries who have reported progress on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets are on track to reach their global biodiversity goals by 2020.

The assessment, which was conducted by Birdlife International, the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB), Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and WWF and titled “Convention on Biological Diversity: Progress Report Toward the Aichi Biodiversity Targets,” found that while 75 percent of reporting countries have made some progress toward meeting the Targets, their pace is largely insufficient to meet the agreed-upon deadline. Twenty percent of reporting countries have made no progress at all.

“For the Aichi Targets to be met, all countries must play their part,” said Sarah Nelson, head of the international policy department at the RSPB. “The results from this study are therefore extremely concerning.”

The team found that countries have made the most progress on process-oriented Targets such as Target 17, which involved updating their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs). Target 20, Resource Mobilization, in which countries secure financing to meet other Targets, scored among the lowest in terms of progress, with 35 percent of countries reporting no movement. The team also found that overall, higher-income countries set weaker goals than lower-income countries, but showed slightly higher progress toward achieving them.

The Targets are part of a 10-year plan that was adopted at the 2010 Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, and serves as the world’s roadmap for halting biodiversity loss — and enhancing the benefits of doing so for both people and nature.

“The Aichi Targets help focus our work to protect the world’s ecosystems,” said Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, vice president of global policy at Conservation International. “Targets such as conserving 17 percent of terrestrial and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas by 2020 are doable — and critical if we are to build resilience to climate change. We urge countries to recommit to them — and our team is here to help.”

Conservation-wise, there have already been notable success stories for some of the smaller signatories to the convention. The Seychelles, for example, have managed to save the Seychelles warbler from extinction – the population had collapsed to just 26 individuals in the 1960s. The birds were relocated to neighbouring islands, with 300 birds now on Cousin Island in the Indian Ocean.

And by eradicating alien species including shrews, rats, cats and mongooses, Mauritius has successfully managed to save dozens of endangered species on the island of Ile aux Aigrettes.

To develop the assessment, the NGO team examined data provided by the CBD Secretariat that analyzed the NBSAPs submitted by individual countries through July 2016. 52 percent of CBD Parties submitted such plans and the data they contained was scored by the CBD Secretariat. The NGO team looked at the extent to which countries’ plans aligned with the Aichi Targets as well as their progress toward the Targets, and considered factors such as economic status and political groupings such as the EU.

The report urged all Parties to be more ambitious in their commitments and intensify their progress, and encouraged higher-income countries in particular to support their lower-income neighbors in converting ambition to action.

“Despite having agreed ambitious global biodiversity targets, low scores in ambition and progress demonstrate that with competing national priorities, biodiversity conservation is still not at the top of the list. We hope that this week, countries will take important steps in fully valuing and recognizing the benefits of biodiversity for all,” said Melanie Heath, director of science, policy and information at BirdLife International. 

“While overall progress to date is insufficient, one silver lining is that least developed countries are articulating a higher level of ambition than developed countries, and are thus demonstrating a different development pathway that better recognizes the value of nature to economic growth and prosperity,” said Andrew Deutz, director of international government relations at The Nature Conservancy.

 “Financial support of developing countries is crucial to achieve the Aichi Targets in countries with biodiversity hotspots. We keep developed countries accountable for their commitments to double international financial contributions and to mobilize additional funding for biodiversity.” said Deon Nel, conservation director at WWF International.

 

About Birdlife International

BirdLife International is the world’s largest nature conservation partnership. Together we are 120 BirdLife Partners worldwide – one per country or territory – and growing. We are driven by our belief that local people, working for nature in their own places but connected nationally and internationally through our global Partnership, are the key to sustaining all life on this planet. This unique local-to-global approach delivers high impact and long-term conservation for the benefit of nature and people.

About RSPB

The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coasts and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organizations. http://www.rspb.org.uk @RSPBNews

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) uses an innovative blend of science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about CI and the “Nature Is Speaking” campaign, and follow CI’s work on FacebookYouTube and Instagram.

About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. panda.org for news and information.

 

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