Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity
Target 12: By 2020, the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained.
Though some extinctions can occur naturally, as a result of human action current rates of extinction are some 100 to 1000 times the background extinction rate. While reducing the threat of human-induced extinction requires action to address the direct and indirect drivers of change, imminent extinctions of known threatened species (these are mostly vertebrates and higher plants) can in many cases be prevented by protecting the sites where such threatened species (identified in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) are located, combating particular threats, and ex situ
conservation. Therefore the task of halting extinction is possible from a scientific perspective by 2020 through a combination of site focused initiatives. There would be additional biodiversity benefits from the protection of the habitats and other species contained therein. Ex situ
measures could complement in situ
protection. Progress towards this target would help to reach several of the other targets contained in the Strategic Plan, including Target 13. Implementation:
Numerous types of actions can be taken to implement this target. Sites already identified through the Alliance for Zero Extinction could be protected, supplemented by additional work to identify, locate and protect threatened species. Additional actions which directly focus on species include the implementation of species recovery and conservation programmes, ex situ
conservation measures as well as the re-introduction of species to habitats from which they have been extirpated. Actions taken under CITES to ensure that no species is threatened by international trade also contribute to the achievement of this target. This target is relevant to most of the Convention’s programme of work on protected areas and is in line with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation as well as with the Global Taxonomy Initiative. Indicators and baseline information:
One relevant indicator for this target is the change in status of threatened species. The IUCN Red List, which classifies species as being extinct (EX), Extinct in the wild (EW), Critically endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), Vulnerable (VU), Near threatened (NT), or Least Concern (LC), provides strong baseline information for this target.
Options for milestones for this target include:
- By 2012, information on the occurrence and distribution of globally threatened species has been reviewed and, where necessary, updated and the status of ecosystems in which they occur has been assessed;
- By 2012, conservation measures have been taken to prevent imminent extinctions;
- By 2014, preliminary national Red List assessments have been conducted;
- By 2016, a strategy for the prevention of extinctions of all nationally threatened species is in place.