|May 10, 2010|
New Vision Required to Stave Off Dramatic Biodiversity Loss
|Nairobi, Kenya -
Natural systems that support economies, lives and livelihoods
across the planet are at risk of rapid degradation and collapse
unless there is swift, radical and creative action to conserve and
sustainably use the variety of life on Earth.
This is one principal conclusion of a major new assessment of the current state of biodiversity and the implications of its continued loss for human well-being.
The third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3), produced by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), confirms that the world has failed to meet its target to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.
The report is based on scientific assessments, national reports submitted by governments and a study on future scenarios for biodiversity. Subject to an extensive independent scientific review process, the publication of GBO-3 is one of the principal milestones of the UN's International Year of Biodiversity.
The Outlook will be a key input into discussions by world leaders and Heads of State at a special high level segment of the United Nations General Assembly on 22 September. Its conclusions will also be central to the negotiations by world governments at the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit in October.
The Outlook warns that massive further loss of biodiversity is becoming increasingly likely, and with it, a severe reduction of many essential services to human societies as several "tipping points" are approached, in which ecosystems shift to alternative, less productive states from which it may be difficult or impossible to recover.
Potential tipping points analyzed for GBO-3 include:
The Outlook argues, however, that such outcomes are avoidable if effective and coordinated action is taken to reduce the multiple pressures being imposed on biodiversity. For example, urgent action is needed to reduce land-based pollution and destructive fishing practices that weaken coral reefs, and make them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.
"Humanity has fabricated the illusion that somehow we can get by without biodiversity or that it is somehow peripheral to our contemporary world: the truth is we need it more than ever on a planet of six billion heading to over nine billion people by 2050." Achim Steiner UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.
The document notes that the linked challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change must be addressed by policymakers with equal priority and in close co-ordination, if the most severe impacts of each are to be avoided.
Conserving biodiversity and the ecosystems it underpins can help to store more carbon, reducing further build-up of greenhouse gases; and people will be better able to adapt to unavoidable climate change if ecosystems are made more resilient with the easing of other pressures.
The Outlook outlines a possible new
strategy for reducing biodiversity loss, learning the lessons from
the failure to meet the 2010 target. It includes addressing the
underlying causes or indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, such as
patterns of consumption, the impacts of increased trade and
demographic change. Ending harmful subsidies would also be an
Click here for the Executive Summary of the Full ReportSource: www.unep.org