Science to Share

The Circle of Life

Kracht van wereldwijde biodiversiteitsdoelstellingen

In september 2020 meldden de Verenigde Naties dat GEEN van de 20 doelstellingen voor het redden van biodiversiteit is behaald. Waarom hebben we gefaald? En wat kunnen we doen voor de toekomst?

Waarom is biodiversiteit belangrijk?

Het is omdat de natuur mooi is. – Klopt. Omdat ik van dieren hou. – Natuurlijk. Iedereen heeft zo zijn eigen redenen. Een van de redenen is dat wij mensen componenten van ecosystemen consumeren voor ons leven, zelfs als we dat niet willen. We zijn slechts een deel van de levenscirkel.

In addition, since other components such as plants and animals exist nearby, humanity and other species directly and intricately influence each other. It is impossible to predict the results of the loss of any single species. In order to be able to use components of ecosystems sustainably in the distant future, it is necessary to keep them available by conserving biodiversity.

What have countries done to save biodiversity?

Biodiversity decline can occur anywhere on Earth. Moreover, a threat to biodiversity such as polluted air and water does not stop at borders. This makes cooperation between several countries indispensable.

To work together to combat such issues, UN member states entered into a treaty in 1992 called the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This convention has three main objectives: (1) conservation of biodiversity, (2) sustainable use of species and (3) fair and equitable use of the benefits of genetic resources. Based on the treaty, countries have taken various measures to reduce the loss of biodiversity. As of 2018, the CBD has 196 parties (194 countries, Palestine and the EU).

The parties will also assess progress under the CBD and set new targets at the Conference of Parties (COP) meeting every approximately two years in a different country. For example, the 6th meeting (COP 6) took place in The Hague in 2002. During the meeting, agreement was reached on many decisions, such as saving forest biodiversity.

Aichi Goals: 20 biodiversity goals with the 2020 deadline

 In 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, a plan on biodiversity was drawn up during the COP 10 meeting. This plan includes 20 goals to halt biodiversity loss, named the Aichi Targets after the name of the host city.

There are several goals, from an abstract one (ie Objective 1: raising awareness of the values ​​of biodiversity) to a detailed one (ie Objective 11: preservation of at least 17% of the land and inland waters). Each target has a 2020 deadline.

Objective 8 (reduced pollution) has not been achieved. You can easily find those signs on the street. Photo by Tomo M.

The result was …

The result of the Aichi Targets was as stated at the beginning. According to the UN report, only 6 goals have been partially achieved, while the others are unfulfilled or unknown. Unfortunately, that shows that our steps taken over the past ten years have not been fully successful.

While it is difficult to specify a single reason for the failure, there are few quantitative targets and a lack of follow-up action.

It is too late?

Absolutely not. A number of important progress has been made. For example, an analysis in the report shows that the recent rate of forest destruction is slower than that of the previous decade. In addition, another review notes that bird and mammal extinctions would likely have been at least 2 to 4 times higher without conservation measures in the past decade.

With regard to the latter example, the underlying study indicates that conservation measures were such as legislation, site protection, communication, and education. These were carried out by a combination of governments, NGOs, zoos, scientists, volunteers (you may have joined!) And others. In addition, the study also states that a number of extinctions have been prevented since the CBD was created.

In this way, having the same problem encourages international cooperation and global goal setting, leading to conservation action at every level. The measures taken over the past ten years are, of course, unsatisfactory. However, as the study points out, such a series of steps at least helps to slow the rate of biodiversity loss.

An important step for the coming decades is that more people are interested in biodiversity. As a player to save biodiversity, let’s rethink what we can do as individuals.

The next COP meeting is coming soon

The 15th meeting of the COP (COP 15) will take place in China in October 2021. It is desirable that the following goals become more accessible to everyone. What do you think will be agreed during the meeting? Keep reading the news!