Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 - Convention on Biological Diversity

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Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 - Convention on Biological Diversity

developments are designed, and opportunitiesto plan in ways that minimize unnecessarynegative impacts on biodiversity are missed.Actions to address the underlying drivers ofbiodiversity loss, including demographic, economic,technological, socio-political and culturalpressures, in meaningful ways, have alsobeen limited.Most future scenarios project continuinghigh levels of extinctions and loss of habitatsthroughout this century, with associated declineof some ecosystem services important tohuman well-being.For example:✤ Tropical forests would continue to be clearedin favour of crops and pastures, and potentiallyfor biofuel production.✤ Climate change, the introduction of invasivealien species, pollution and dam constructionwould put further pressure on freshwater biodiversityand the services it underpins.✤ Overfishing would continue to damage marineecosystems and cause the collapse of fishpopulations, leading to the failure of fisheries.Changes in the abundance and distributionof species may have serious consequencesfor human societies. The geographical distributionof species and vegetation types is projectedto shift radically due to climate change,with ranges moving from hundreds to thousandsof kilometres towards the poles by theend of the 21st century. Migration of marinespecies to cooler waters could make tropicaloceans less diverse, while both boreal and temperateforests face widespread dieback at thesouthern end of their existing ranges, with impactson fisheries, wood harvests, recreation opportunitiesand other services.There is a high risk of dramatic biodiversity lossand accompanying degradation of a broad rangeof ecosystem services if ecosystems are pushedbeyond certain thresholds or tipping points. Thepoor would face the earliest and most severe impactsof such changes, but ultimately all societiesand communities would suffer.Examples include:✤ The Amazon forest, due to the interaction ofdeforestation, fire and climate change, couldundergo a widespread dieback, with partsof the forest moving into a self-perpetuatingcycle of more frequent fires and intensedroughts leading to a shift to savanna-likevegetation. While there are large uncertaintiesassociated with these scenarios, it is knownthat such dieback becomes much more likelyto occur if deforestation exceeds 20 – 30% (itis currently above 17% in the Brazilian Ama-© David Coatesong>Globalong> ong>Biodiversityong> ong>Outlookong> 3 | 6


zon). It would lead to regional rainfall reductions,compromising agricultural production.There would also be global impacts throughincreased carbon emissions, and massive lossof biodiversity.✤ The build-up of phosphates and nitrates fromagricultural fertilizers and sewage effluentcan shift freshwater lakes and other inlandwater ecosystems into a long-term, algaedominated(eutrophic) state. This could leadto declining fish availability with implicationsfor food security in many developing countries.There will also be loss of recreation opportunitiesand tourism income, and in somecases health risks for people and livestockfrom toxic algal blooms. Similar, nitrogen–inducedeutrophication phenomena in coastalenvironments lead to more oxygen-starveddead zones, with major economic losses resultingfrom reduced productivity of fisheriesand decreased tourism revenues.✤ The combined impacts of ocean acidification,warmer sea temperatures and other humaninducedstresses make tropical coral reef ecosystemsvulnerable to collapse. More acidicwater — brought about by higher carbon dioxideconcentrations in the atmosphere — decreasesthe availability of the carbonate ionsrequired to build coral skeletons. Together withthe bleaching impact of warmer water, elevatednutrient levels from pollution, overfishing,sediment deposition arising from inland deforestation,and other pressures, reefs worldwideincreasingly become algae-dominated withcatastrophic loss of biodiversity and ecosystemfunctioning, threatening the livelihoods andfood security of hundreds of millions of people.There are greater opportunities than previouslyrecognized to address the biodiversitycrisis while contributing to other social objectives.For example, analyses conducted for thisong>Outlookong> identified scenarios in which climatechange is mitigated while maintaining and evenexpanding the current extent of forests andother natural ecosystems (avoiding additionalhabitat loss from the widespread deployment ofbiofuels). Other opportunities include “rewilding”abandoned farmland in some regions, andthe restoration of river basins and other wetlandecosystems to enhance water supply, floodcontrol and the removal of pollutants.Well-targeted policies focusing on critical areas,species and ecosystem services are essentialto avoid the most dangerous impactson people and societies. Preventing furtherhuman-induced biodiversity loss for the neartermfuture will be extremely challenging, butbiodiversity loss may be halted and in someaspects reversed in the longer term, if urgent,concerted and effective action is initiated nowin support of an agreed long-term vision.Such action to conserve biodiversity and use itscomponents sustainably will reap rich rewards -through better health, greater food security, lesspoverty and a greater capacity to cope with, andadapt to, environmental change.Placing greater priority on biodiversity is centralto the success of development and poverty-alleviationmeasures. It is clear that continuing with“business as usual” will jeopardize the future ofall human societies, and none more so than thepoorest who depend directly on biodiversity for aparticularly high proportion of their basic needs.The loss of biodiversity is frequently linked to theloss of cultural diversity, and has an especially highnegative impact on indigenous communities.The linked challenges of biodiversity loss andclimate change must be addressed by policymakerswith equal priority and in close co-ordination,if the most severe impacts of each are tobe avoided. Reducing the further loss of carbonstoringecosystems such as tropical forests, saltmarshes and peatlands will be a crucial step inlimiting the build-up of greenhouse gases in theatmosphere. At the same time, reducing otherpressures on ecosystems can increase their resilience,make them less vulnerable to those impactsof climate change which are already unavoidable,and allow them to continue to provideservices to support people’s livelihoods and helpthem adapt to climate change.Better protection of biodiversity should be seenas a prudent and cost-effective investment inrisk-avoidance for the global community. Theconsequences of abrupt ecosystem changes ona large scale affect human security to such anextent, that it is rational to minimize the risk oftriggering them - even if we are not clear aboutthe precise probability that they will occur. Ecosystemdegradation, and the consequent lossof ecosystem services, has been identified asone of the main sources of disaster risk. Investmentin resilient and diverse ecosystems, ableto withstand the multiple pressures they aresubjected to, may be the best-value insurancepolicy yet devised.Scientific uncertainty surrounding the preciseconnections between biodiversity and humanong>Globalong> ong>Biodiversityong> ong>Outlookong> 3 | 7


well-being, and the functioning of ecosystems,should not be used as an excuse for inaction.No one can predict with accuracy how close we areto ecosystem tipping points, and how much additionalpressure might bring them about. What isknown from past examples, however, is that oncean ecosystem shifts to another state, it can be difficultor impossible to return it to the former conditionson which economies and patterns of settlementhave been built for generations.Effective action to address biodiversity lossdepends on addressing the underlying causesor indirect drivers of that decline.This will mean:✤ Much greater efficiency in the use of land, energy,fresh water and materials to meet growingdemand.✤ Use of market incentives, and avoidance ofperverse subsidies, to minimize unsustainableresource use and wasteful consumption.✤ Strategic planning in the use of land, inlandwaters and marine resources to reconciledevelopment with conservation of biodiversityand the maintenance of multiple ecosystemservices. While some actions may entailmoderate costs or tradeoffs, the gains for biodiversitycan be large in comparison.✤ Ensuring that the benefits arising from use ofand access to genetic resources and associatedtraditional knowledge, for example throughthe development of drugs and cosmetics, areequitably shared with the countries and culturesfrom which they are obtained.✤ Communication, education and awarenessraisingto ensure that as far as possible, everyoneunderstands the value of biodiversityand what steps they can take to protect it,including through changes in personal consumptionand behaviour.The real benefits of biodiversity, and the costsof its loss, need to be reflected within economicsystems and markets. Perverse subsidies andthe lack of economic value attached to the hugebenefits provided by ecosystems have contributedto the loss of biodiversity. Through regulationand other measures, markets can andmust be harnessed to create incentives to safeguardand strengthen, rather than to deplete,our natural infrastructure. The re-structuringof economies and financial systems followingthe global recession provides an opportunity forsuch changes to be made. Early action will beboth more effective and less costly than inactionor delayed action.Urgent action is needed to reduce the directdrivers of biodiversity loss. The application ofbest practices in agriculture, sustainable forestmanagement and sustainable fisheries shouldbecome standard practice, and approachesaimed at optimizing multiple ecosystem servicesinstead of maximizing a single one shouldbe promoted. In many cases, multiple driversare combining to cause biodiversity loss anddegradation of ecosystems. Sometimes, it maybe more effective to concentrate urgent actionon reducing those drivers most responsive topolicy changes. This will reduce the pressureson biodiversity and protect its value for humansocieties in the short to medium-term, whilethe more intractable drivers are addressed over© Johnanders... | Dreamstime.comong>Globalong> ong>Biodiversityong> ong>Outlookong> 3 | 8


BOX: National action on biodiversityOver 170 countries (87% of the Parties to the ong>Conventionong>) have developed national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs). A further 14 Partiesare preparing them, and 9 have either not started to draw up a strategy or had not announced their intention to do so by the time this ong>Outlookong> wentto press.An overwhelming majority of governments, in other words, have been through the process of codifying their approach to protecting the biodiversity withintheir own territory. In many countries, the preparation of strategies has stimulated the development of additional laws and programmes, and spurred actionon a broad range of issues, including: the eradication or control of alien invasive species; using biodiversity sustainably; the protection of traditionalknowledge and rules to ensure local communities share benefits from bio-prospecting which might result in patents or sales of new drugs, foods orcosmetics; the safe use of biotechnology; and maintaining the diversity of plants and animals used in agriculture.Relatively few Parties have fully integrated the 2010 biodiversity target into their national strategies. Moreover, few countries are using NBSAPs as effectivetools for integrating biodiversity into broader national strategies, policies and planning processes. More than 80% of Parties, in their latest nationalreports to the CBD, concede that limited biodiversity mainstreaming, fragmented decision making and/or limited communication among governmentministries or sectors is a challenge to meeting the goals of the ong>Conventionong>.However, recently developed and updated national biodiversity strategies tend to be more strategic than the first generation of NBSAPs, they have astronger emphasis on mainstreaming, and give greater recognition to broader national development objectives.NBSAPs should catalyze a number of strategic actions in countries, including:✤ Mainstreaming – biodiversity will be best protected if it is a significant factor in decisions made across a wide range of sectors, departments andeconomic activities, systems for planning the use of land, freshwater and sea areas (spatial planning), and policies to reduce poverty and adapt toclimate change.✤ Communication and involvement – strategies will only be effective if they genuinely involve the people closest to the resources they are designed toprotect. Often the best solutions will be driven by local demand, using legal and institutional frameworks set at a higher level.✤ Tools for implementation – particular approaches, such as making integrated decisions based on maintaining and improving the overall health ofecosystems, or introducing policies on payments for the use of hitherto “free” ecosystem services, can aid in the protection of biodiversity.✤ Knowledge – for good decisions to be made, the best available information about the biodiversity of a country or region must be accessible to theright people at the right time. The Clearing-House Mechanism, a system of compiling, co-ordinating and providing access to relevant and up-to-dateknowledge, is a key tool provided by the CBD framework.✤ Monitoring – assessing and communicating progress towards the objectives and targets set by a biodiversity strategy is an important way to improveits effectiveness and visibility.✤ Financing and capacity – co-ordinating action to support biodiversity will only be meaningful if there is money to do it and there are people whoknow how to do it.Number of of countriesNumber of countries195 195Number of countries195180 180195180180160 160Parties to ong>Conventionong> onBiological Diversity160140 140160The number of countries party to the ong>Conventionong>on Biological Diversity has grown over time,140120 120140and it currently has near universal membership.120100 100Of the 193 Parties to the ong>Conventionong> 170 have120developed National ong>Biodiversityong> Strategies and10080 80Action Plans (NBSAPs) and of these, more than10035 Parties have revised their NBSAP.8060 60Source: Secretariat of the ong>Conventionong> on Biological Diversity806040 40604020 2040200 0201992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 200 201992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Countries2002 2003 2004 2005 Parties2006 2007 NBSAPs 2008 2009 2010NBSAP revisions01992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Countries 2007 2008 2009 Parties 2010NBSAPs NBSAP revisionsCountriesPartiesNBSAPsNBSAP revisionsong>Globalong> ong>Biodiversityong> ong>Outlookong> 3 | 14Number of countriesNumber of countries195180Number of of countries195 195180 180


ong>Globalong> ong>Biodiversityong> ong>Outlookong> 3 | 16Secretariat of the ong>Conventionong> on Biological DiversityWorld Trade Centre · 413 St. Jacques Street, Suite 800Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1N9Phone: 1(514) 288 2220 · Fax: 1 (514) 288 6588E-mail: secretariat@cbd.int · Website: http://www.cbd.int

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