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On biodiversity, a global failure – editorials


The world has failed to achieve even one of
the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets signed by 170 countries and regions through the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), says the latest Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO-5) report released on Tuesday. The conservation targets, which aim to protect the world’s imperiled flora and fauna, were formulated in Japan in 2010. The convention is currently ironing out its post-2020 framework, which will be adopted at its next meeting in Kunming, China, in 2021. The new framework will create a new set of targets
to remedy the Aichi goals’ failures, and turn things around.

National governments failed to meet the CBD goals despite an earlier warning from United Nations that one million species could disappear within decades, widening the Holocene extinction: The planet’s sixth mass extinction event, driven by human activity. They failed because of two reasons. One, most countries struggled to balance conservation with the needs of their growing populations and economy (it is the same policy dilemma that is hobbling the fight against the climate crisis). And two, positive conservation steps were upended by perverse incentives which enable destruction — for instance, fossil fuels need mining and overfishing destroys coral reefs, all of which has an impact on preservation.

The GBO-5 comes out at a crucial time when, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is being forced to rethink its development objectives and its relationship with nature. Business-as-usual will only plunge the globe into deeper crises, given the complex interdependence of all elements in nature. A stronger CBD framework must push national governments to act and avoid a natural catastrophe that can endanger human lives.

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