Conserving the planet’s species and habitats is central to sustainable development. Yet the global decline in biodiversity is accelerating. The main causes are human activities. The consequences are devastating: failed crops, economic losses, less resilience in the face of disaster. As with most emergencies, those hardest hit are the poor.
And climate change is compounding the problem. There are also the opportunity costs: what cures for disease… what other useful discoveries… might we never know of because a habitat is destroyed forever, or land is polluted beyond all use? We have all heard of the web of life. We risk trapping ourselves in a web of death.
The United Nations Decade on Biodiversity is an opportunity to reverse this trend. The Decade aims to help us look at the underlying causes of biodiversity loss. It seeks to ensure that biodiversity figures more prominently in decision-making by governments and industry. And it hopes to mobilize all segments of society in achieving agreed international biodiversity targets.
For too long, our natural capital has been seen as an endless reserve, instead of the limited and fragile resource we now know it to be.
—Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations in a video message for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity