We missed the 2010 targets – so now what?

As government representatives from around the world meet in Nairobi over the next two weeks to address the biodiversity crisis, a new report reveals the direness of the situation. Published this week, 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 showed that – even though many responses have been in the right direction, including the designation of new protected areas and the prevention of extinctions – the efforts to address the loss of biodiversity need to be integrated across all parts of government and business to be more effective.

But how do we make this happen? We need financial and institutional frameworks that eliminate perverse incentives harmful to the environment and provide positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Subsidies for industrial fisheries, for example, amount to US$15 to US$30 billion per year, and contribute to the depletion of fish stocks all over the world. In comparison, a network of Marine Protected Areas covering 20 to 30 percent of the oceans would cost about a third (US$5 to US$19 billion per year), and would deliver about 1 million jobs – more than the current number of jobs in the global fishing industry. Plus, it would help to sustain global fish stocks as a vital source of food.

Biodiversity is essential for human survival, and the natural processes made possible by the diversity of life underpin the economies of all nations, but are often forgotten as politicians focus on narrow, short-term agendas.

All countries must recognize and integrate the value of biodiversity in their national accounts and economic development plans if we are to be successful in stopping the current steep loss in biodiversity. The new CBD strategic plan must recognize this if we want a different outcome in 2020 and beyond.

Lina Barrera is the senior manager for development policy at CI. Patricia Yakabe Malentaqui is CI’s international media manager. Read their full report in the CBD Alliance’s recent publication, “ECO”.

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