Global Biodiversity Outlook – Target 30×30 – The Big Picture – RSTV IAS UPSC

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  • September 24, 2020
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Global Biodiversity Outlook – Target 30×30


TOPIC: General Studies 3

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

In News: The UN Convention on Biological Diversity has released its fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook report. The report notes the importance of biodiversity in addressing climate change, and long-term food security, and concludes that action to protect biodiversity is essential to prevent future pandemics. 

  • None of the 20 agreed conservation targets of the past 10 years could be fully met by the world. 
  • Experts believe that all nations will now have to implement the ambitious new target of protecting at least 30% of the planet by 2030 – popularly known as 30×30 target – under the UN Convention. 

The Wake-up Call – A decade ago, the world agreed to 20 biodiversity targets. It did not meet any of them.

The study acts as a wake-up call, and an encouragement to consider the dangers involved in mankind’s current relationship with nature: continued biodiversity loss, and the ongoing degradation of ecosystems, are having profound consequences of human wellbeing and survival.

  • The setbacks have been many. Pollution levels are high. 
  • The global rate of deforestation has fallen by a third compared to the previous decade. A number of places have successfully eradicated invasive species.
  • More than 60 percent of the world’s coral reefs are under threat. 
  • Only 66 percent of the stocks fished worldwide were at biologically sustainable levels in 2017, down from 71 percent seven years earlier. Some countries have introduced good fisheries management policies, which helped build back marine fish stocks that have been hard hit by overfishing and environmental degradation.
  • Experts warn ecosystem loss and the wildlife trade, which reduce biodiversity, can also increase the likelihood that novel pathogens will spread to humans.
  • Habitat loss and degradation remains high, especially in forests and tropical regions. Global wetlands are declining and rivers are fragmenting, posing a “critical threat to freshwater diversity
  • Indigenous communities are still largely excluded from these conversations, and their valuable knowledge on sustainable resource management isn’t reflected in national legislation.
  • This year’s study is considered to be particularly significant, because it serves as a “final report card” for the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, a series of 20 objectives set out in 2010, at the beginning of the UN’s Decade on Biodiversity, most of which were supposed to be reached by the end of this year. However, none of the targets – which concern the safeguarding of ecosystems, and the promotion of sustainability – have been fully met, and only six are deemed to have been “partially achieved”.

Aichi Biodiversity Targets

  • Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society
  • Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use
  • Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity
  • Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building

The six targets partially met are: preventing invasive species, conserving protected areas, access to and sharing benefits from genetic resources, biodiversity strategies and action plans, sharing information, and mobilizing resources.

What do we need to do?

  • Many of the actions needed have already been identified and agreed upon under international treaties like the Paris Climate Change Agreement (which the United States is currently withdrawing from).
  • The report outlined eight areas where we need to transition to sustainability: land and forests, agriculture, food systems, fisheries and oceans, cities and infrastructure, freshwater, climate action and an integrated “One Health” global framework.

Finding these solutions is “challenging” but critical, and we’ve seen what happens when we fail. The Covid-19 pandemic, for example, has illustrated “the link between our treatment of the living world and the emergence of human diseases.

As long as humanity is putting more resources into destroying biodiversity rather than protecting it, the ability of ecosystems to provide everything from pollinators, clean water, and fertile soil, to inspiration and joy, will deteriorate. If we continue business as usual, it could cost the world economy some $10 trillion by 2050, with poorer countries bearing the brunt

Connecting the Dots:

  1. Aichi Biodiversity Targets
  2. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  3. A decade ago, the world agreed to 20 biodiversity targets. It did not meet any of them. Discuss.
  4. Humanity stands at a crossroads with regard to the legacy it leaves to future generations. What are your views? Is there any solution to it?

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