In 2010, the world’s nations agreed on 20 ambitious goals to stem the global extinction crisis that threatens to shrink the diversity of life on Earth in the coming decades. As negotiators gather this week in Cancun for the latest meeting of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) — six years after those 20 goals, called the Aichi Targets, were set — how close is the world to achieving them?
The Aichi Targets, which range from specific goals — such as protecting 17 percent of terrestrial and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas — to less defined ones — such as expanding global awareness of the value of biodiversity — were intended to be achieved by 2020. With four years left for countries to make progress, Conservation International (CI) joined with four other global conservation organizations — Birdlife International, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Nature Conservancy and WWF — to determine how countries are progressing toward these targets. We looked at how countries matched their ambition to each Aichi Target as well as their progress in meeting their goals.
While our report shows positive progress on a number of the targets, the overall picture is poor, with inadequate progress to date in most countries. Unless countries significantly increase their ambition through more resources and improved policies for biodiversity protection, the Aichi Targets will not be met, and we will increasingly undermine the long-term well-being of humanity.