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Global Biodiversity Outlook 3

Biodiversity in 2010
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Overview
The 2010 biodiversity target has not been met at the global level. None of the twenty-one sub-targets accompanying the overall target of significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 can be said definitively to have been achieved globally, although some have been partially or locally achieved. Despite an increase in conservation efforts, the state of biodiversity continues to decline, according to most indicators, largely because the pressures on biodiversity continue to increase. There is no indication of a significant reduction in the rate of decline in biodiversity, nor of a significant reduction in pressures upon it. However, negative trends have been slowed or reversed in some ecosystems. There are several indications that responses to biodiversity loss are increasing and improving, although not yet on a scale sufficient to affect overall negative trends in the state of biodiversity or the pressures upon it.

When governments agreed to the 2010 target for significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss, a number of tools were put in place within the Convention on Biological Diversity and other conventions to help focus action towards achieving the target, to monitor progress towards it, and eventually to determine whether it had in fact been achieved. Twenty-one sub-targets were defined, to be reached by 2010 towards eleven principal goals related to biodiversity. [Box 1]

While none of the sub-targets can be said definitively to have been met, some have been achieved partially or at regional or national scales [Table 1]
. In fact, the 2010 biodiversity target has inspired action at many levels. Some 170 countries now have national biodiversity strategies and action plans. [Box 2]
[Figure 1]
Protected areas have been expanded in number and extent, on both land and in coastal waters. Environmental impact assessment is more widely applied with most countries reporting that they have some measures in place for its use.

Most countries are also undertaking activities related to communication, education and public awareness as well biodiversity monitoring, research and the development of databases. At the international level, financial resources have been mobilized and progress has been made in developing mechanisms for research, monitoring and scientific assessment of biodiversity.

The Torngat Mountains National Park of Canada, which is co-managed with the Labrador and Nunavik Inuit, is the 42nd national park to be established in the country. The park is located at the northern tip of Labrador and covers approximately 9,700 square kilometres of arctic ecosystems.

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There is no single measurement that captures the current status or trends in global biodiversity. Therefore a range of indicators was developed for the Convention on Biological Diversity, to provide scientifically rigorous assessments of trends in the state of the various components of biodiversity (genes, populations, species, ecosystems); the pressures being imposed upon it; and the responses being adopted to address biodiversity loss. Ten of the fifteen headline indicators show trends unfavourable for biodiversity. [Table 2]

Yet, for certain indicators the amount and coverage of data is not sufficient to make statements with confidence. The assessment of status and trends of biodiversity on the following pages therefore relies on multiple lines of evidence, including scientific literature and recent assessments, as well as national reports from the Parties to the Convention. Not a single government in the latest reports submitted to the CBD claims that the 2010 biodiversity target has been completely met at the national level. Around one in five governments state explicitly that they have missed the target.

Although the evidence does not show a significant decline in the rate of biodiversity loss, some interventions have had a measurable, positive impact by making the decline less severe than it would otherwise have been. For example, it is estimated that 31 bird species, out of a total of some 9,800, would have become extinct in the absence of conservation actions.

Missing the 2010 target has serious implications for human societies. Biodiversity underpins a wide range of services that support economies, food production systems and secure living conditions. [Box 3]

The loss of biodiversity (at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels) also affects human health in many ways.

Projections of the impacts of continued biodiversity loss, some associated costs and how they might be avoided, are outlined in this synthesis. First, the current status and trends of biodiversity, the pressures upon it and responses to its loss are described in more detail.

Coastal ecosystems, as well as supporting a wide range of species, often provide vital barriers that protect human communities from the full force of onshore waves and storms.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme