The third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) comes at a critical period in the history of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It coincides with thedeadline agreed in Johannesburg by world leaders to substantially reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth. To this end the United Nations has designated 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. For the first time in its history, the United Nations General Assembly, during its 65th session, will convene a high level meeting on biodiversity with the participation of Heads of State and Government. Further during the tenth meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention, to be held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, Parties will develop a new strategic plan for the coming decades including a 2050 vision and 2020 mission for biodiversity as well as means for implementation and mechanism to monitor and evaluate our progress towards our shared global objectives.
More than fifteen years after the Convention came into force, and when the international community is actively preparing for the Rio+20 summit, this is a time of reckoning for decision-makers committed to the global effort to safeguard the variety life on Earth and its contribution to human well-being. GBO-3 is a vital tool to inform decision-makers and the wider public, about the state of biodiversity in 2010, the implications of current trends, and our options for the future.
Drawing extensively from the approximately 120 national reports submitted by Parties to the Convention, GBO-3 makes it clear that we have much work to do over the months and years to come. No country has reported that it will completely meet the 2010 target, and a few Parties have unequivocally stated they will not meet it. Moreover, most Parties have reported that at least one, but in most cases several species and habitats within their national territories, were in a state of decline.
Most Parties have confirmed that five main pressures continue to affect biodiversity within their borders: habitat loss, the unsustainable use and overexploitation of resources, climate change, invasive alien species, and pollution. Many positive steps have been taken by the Parties to help address these issues. These include the development of new biodiversityrelated legislation; the establishment of mechanisms for environmental impact assessment; participation in transboundary management or cooperation initiatives; and fostering community involvement in the management of biological resources.
At the same time, the fourth national reports give us a clear picture of the obstacles that need to be overcome to better implement the objectives of the Convention. These include limited capacity in both developed and developing nations, including financial, human and technical issues; the absence of, or difficulties in, accessing scientific information; limited awareness of biodiversity issues amongst the general public and decision makers; limited biodiversity mainstreaming; fragmented decision making and limited communication between different ministries or sectors; and the absence of economic valuation of biodiversity.
As this Outlook makes clear, it is essential that these obstacles are removed if we are to make progress in tackling biodiversity loss. It is increasingly urgent that we make such progress, as the consequences of current trends have implications that jeopardize many of the objectives shared by the wider UN family to change the world for the better. We have an opportunity, equipped with the knowledge and analysis contained in this document and its underlying sources, to move biodiversity into the mainstream of decision-making. Let us, individually and collectively, seize this opportunity, for the sake of current and future generations as indeed biodiversity is life, biodiversity is our life.