As the climax of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, the world’s governments* will meet in Nagoya, Japan, in October, to agree on a global biodiversity target.
What might this target look like?
Writing in the prestigious scientific journal “Nature” this week the President of IUCN, Dr Ashok Khosla, and the Director-General of IUCN, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, argue that the target must be an ambitious one.
Khosla and Marton-Lefèvre propose that in the short-term, the world’s governments must bring a stop to the loss of biodiversity – “in particular, by setting an intermediate target to prevent further extinctions”, because extinctions are irreversible – once a species is lost, it can never be brought back.
They recommend that this immediate target should have a deadline of 2015, because of the synergy that this would bring with the timing of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and because it would place the deadline within current political cycles, to provide an incentive “to ensure that elected politicians successfully deliver the target to their constituencies”.
Finally, they recommend that this immediate target should be supplemented by a long-term 2050 vision of not only halting the loss of biodiversity but of turning the tide to provide comprehensive restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services essential for supporting human well-being. This 40-year time frame is appropriate for the restoration of populations, habitats, and ecological processes, given the decades necessary for the re-establishment of forests, wetlands, coral reefs, and other ecosystems.
Conservation International strongly endorses this call from IUCN, and will be engaging with the policy process over this coming year to help ensure that the world’s new biodiversity target will be an ambitious one.
The current draft of the new biodiversity target is posted on the Convention on Biological Diversity’s website along with an eForum with 18 questions on the subject for public comment. We encourage you, our readers, to sign in to this eForum (it requires a simple registration: just enter your e-mail and you will be sent a password) and support the message from IUCN, Conservation International, and civil society around the world that the planet needs a powerful biodiversity target. The key questions are numbers 5 and 15!
Happy New International Year of Biodiversity to you all!
* All but three of the world’s governments. Andorra, the Vatican, and the United States of America are the only ones of the world’s 193 nations who are not yet parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Conservation International urges citizens of these three nations to encourage their governments to become parties to this important global treaty as part of their celebrations of the International Year of Biodiversity.
Dr. Thomas Brooks is a Vice-President in the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International.