Biodiversity needs ‘transformative’ change

by Felix von Geyer, Montréal

Ambitious action co-ordinated across locations are required to effect enough transformative change to stop biodiversity loss and put biodiversity on a trend to recovery by 2050, according to a report released Wednesday.

Conclusions of the actions required to achieve the twenty-one targets outlined in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the Montreal-based United Nations Convention on Biodiversity were presented by fifty scientists. The report was produced in collaboration with Future Earth’s Biodiscovery Program and the Secretariat from the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Network (GEO BON).

The interconnectedness of ecosystems means that any change in one dimension of an ecosystem in one part of the world can impact a dimension of an ecosystem elsewhere. This applies to natural and managed ecosystems where species and genetic composition differ as well as the ecosystem’s function and its supply of ecosystem benefits to people.

The transformative change is tantamount to a “fundamental system-wide re-organization across technological, economic and social factors including paradigms, goals and values needed for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, human well-being and sustainable development,” according to the report’s first key message.

The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) contains a shared 2050 vision of “living in harmony with nature” and sets out four goals to 2050 with 21 targets to 2030 to achieve this including to halve biodiversity loss by 2030 and to achieve a recovery in biodiversity by 2050.

Specifically the GBF seeks to enhance all ecosystems at least 15 per cent by area while safeguarding genetic diversity of wild and domesticated species by maintaining no less than 90 per cent of genetic diversity within all species.

The report called for “a portfolio of actions” including ambitious objectives for ecosystems, species and genetic diversity to reverse biodiversity loss by addressing the threats and reducing all direct drivers of biodiversity loss resulting from changes in land and sea use.

Investment in monitoring indicators of progress is essential to achieve these goals and to achieve a knowledge of interlinking is fundamental in mitigating the effects in one dimension of biodiversity loss that would impact other drivers of other dimensions of loss or abundance of life.

The report would originally have coincided with ongoing UNCBD meetings on the post-2020 GBF scheduled for the second half of January. The scientific and technical bodies plus the task group charged with drafting an effective post-2020 global framework will now meet in Geneva in March.

“These three meetings are critical to developing an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the CBD Executive Secretary.