In October 2010, at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, governments agreed to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. This plan provides an overarching framework on biodiversity, not only for the biodiversity-related conventions, but for the entire United Nations system and all other partners engaged in biodiversity management and policy development.
The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity is aimed at implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The 3 objectives of the CBD are:
The Aichi Biodiversity Targets provide an innovative and visionary approach that integrates biodiversity with social and economic drivers at the heart of the problem, and thus the key to the solution.
To build support and create momentum for this urgent task, the United Nations General Assembly at its 65th session declared the period 2011-2020 to be the “United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, with a view to contributing to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the period 2011-2020”,, and requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, to lead the coordination of the activities of the Decade on behalf of the United Nations system, with the support of the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the secretariats of other biodiversity related-conventions and relevant United Nations funds, programmes and agencies, and invited Member States in a position to do so to contribute, on a voluntary basis, to the funding of the activities of the Decade. (Resolution 65/161).
The goal of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity is to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and to promote its overall vision of living in harmony with nature.
A wide diversity of actors have different roles to play. The Convention on Biological Diversity requires governments to develop national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and to integrate these into broader national plans for environment and development. Governments need to take on a critical leadership role, by setting rules that guide the use of natural resources Agricultural and other production sectors need to minimize the impact of their operations on the wider environment and follow management approaches that sustain biological resources. Businesses need to be involved in environmental protection and the sustainable use of biodiversity in their activities. Finally, the ultimate decision-maker for biodiversity is the individual citizen; by choosing to consume sustainably, and to engage in practices that promote biodiversity conservation, as well as becoming actively involved in the formulation of policy, the general public can begin to steer the world towards sustainable development.
Since the start of the Decade, encouraging actions have been taken around the world to tackle biodiversity loss. However, based on current trends, it is clear that pressures on biodiversity will continue to increase at least until 2020, and that the status of biodiversity will continue to decline This is despite the fact that society’s responses to the loss of biodiversity are increasing dramatically, and based on national plans and commitments are expected to continue to increase for the remainder of this decade. (GBO4).
At the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2014, this sense of urgency and a renewed enthusiasm helped lead to the adoption of decisions to further help implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Likewise, members of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets Task Force (ABTTF) strengthened its commitment towards action for living in harmony with nature.
Now, at the halfway mark of the Decade, it is necessary to broaden political and general support for the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the objectives of the Convention. We all need to work to ensure that all levels of government and stakeholders across society are aware of the multiple values of biodiversity and related ecosystem services and that they take the actions needed to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
The actions taken by individuals, businesses and governments – our collective actions – are critical for protecting all life on Earth. By being proactive about biodiversity we ensure human well-being. It is in our own interest, in the interest of our children, and in the interest of future generations to come, that we take action in support of biodiversity.
Now, more than ever, it is time for all of us to start living in harmony with nature.