TARGET 10 - Technical Rationale extended (provided in document COP/10/INF/12/Rev.1)

Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.

Target 10: By 2015 the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs, and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification are minimized, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning.

Technical rationale: In addition to warming caused by the greenhouse effect, increased atmospheric CO2 leads to ocean acidification.34,35 Both pressures need to be considered in elaborating policy response options to climate change for coral reefs and other vulnerable ecosystems. However, given ecological and policy inertias, it is important to urgently reduce the other anthropogenic pressures on these vulnerable ecosystems, such as land-based pollution/sedimentation, unsustainable harvesting and physical pressures, so as to increase their resilience to climate change and ocean acidification. Given this urgency a deadline for 2015 has adopted for this target.

Implementation: By addressing those anthropogenic pressures which are most amenable to rapid positive changes, it may be possible to give vulnerable ecosystems time to cope with the pressures caused by climate change. This would include activities such as reducing pollution, overexploitation and harvesting practices which have negative consequences on ecosystems. Multiple programmes of work, including those on climate change and biodiversity, and marine and coastal biodiversity, are relevant to this target.

Indicators and baselines: Indicators for this target include the Marine Trophic Index, the incidence of human-induced ecosystem failure, the health and well-being of communities who depend directly on local ecosystem goods and services, and trends in coral bleaching. Other possible indicators include the Ecological Footprint and related concepts. Process indicators could include the number of plans, programmes and strategies related to the protection and management of marine and coastal ecosystems.


Options for milestones for this target include:

  • By 2012, assess the integrity of coral reefs and pressures arising from land-based pollution/sedimentation as well as from unsustainable fishing and recreational and other activities, and develop a strategy to minimize these;
  • By 2012, identify vulnerable marine ecosystems, and undertake assessment of fishing impacts on such ecosystems, and of fishing activities on target and non-target species and to assess, on the basis of the best available scientific information, whether individual bottom fishing activities would have significant adverse impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems;36
  • By 2014, fully implement the strategy to minimize pressures on coral reefs arising from land-based pollution/sedimentation as well as from unsustainable fishing and recreational activities.

Hoegh-Guldberg, O, et al. (2007). Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification. Science, 318(5857), 1737-1742.
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2009). Scientific Synthesis of the Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine Biodiversity. Montreal, Technical Series No. 46.
This milestone would contribute to the implementation of the United Nations General Assembly resolutions 61/105 and 64/72.