The Future of Biodiversity

We all know about the global extinction crisis; our planet is losing biodiversity—from genes to species to entire ecosystems—faster than ever before. The causes of biodiversity loss range from deforestation to pollution to overhunting, but they share one common thread: almost all of them are the result of human activities. Yet the fact remains that biodiversity is the foundation of all life on Earth, and without it we cannot survive.

We have no more time to lose and must take immediate action to slow the loss of biodiversity. The question is…how?

This weekend, about 14,000 people representing almost every country in the world will travel to Nagoya, Japan to hold that very discussion. The Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Conference of the Parties aims to create targets to slow the loss of biodiversity over the next decade and try to put a stop to it by 2050. Meeting attendees include world leaders, indigenous groups and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) like Conservation International (CI).

Through CI’s participation at Nagoya, we hope to influence the implementation of bold and ambitious policies to achieve four main goals:

  1. Create biodiversity targets that protect at least 25 percent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 15 percent of marine territories by 2020. Right now, only about 15 percent of the terrestrial areas and less than 1 percent of the sea are protected—not nearly enough to slow biodiversity loss.
  2. Emphasize the importance of protecting the right areas to achieve the post-2010 CBD goals—areas that are rich in biodiversity and those that deliver the biggest benefits in terms of services provided to people, like abundant, clean water and fresh air.
  3. Ensure that freshwater protection is more widely recognized as an essential component of biodiversity conservation. Healthy freshwater ecosystems not only supply clean water for human communities, they also provide habitat for thousands of species which are inextricably linked to human livelihoods.
  4. Reach agreement to encourage economic incentives that fully value the benefits that biodiversity provides for human well-being, encourage sustainable conservation activities and discourage destructive ones. After all, biodiversity underpins healthy ecosystems, which provide food, water, medicines and a host of cultural and spiritual values that allow nations to develop and people to thrive.

During the conference, which runs from October 18-29, we will be bringing you the latest updates on the CBD negotiations right here on our blog, so don’t forget to check back.

Want to take action yourself? Help us advocate for protected areas by signing our petition.

Lina Barrera is the director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Policy in CI’s Center for Conservation and Government.

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