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TARGET 7 - Technical Rationale extended (provided in document COP/10/INF/12/Rev.1)

Quick Guide (Target 7)

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

Target 7: By 2020, areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.

Technical rationale: The ecologically unsustainable consumption of water, use and run-off of pesticides and excess fertilizers, and the conversion of natural habitats to uniform monocultures, amongst other factors, have major negative impacts on biodiversity inside and outside of agricultural areas, as well as on forest, inland water and coastal ecosystems. The increasing demand for food, fibre and fuel will lead to increasing losses of biodiversity and ecosystem services if issues related to sustainable management are not addressed.24,25 On the other hand, sustainable management not only contributes to biodiversity conservation but can also deliver benefits to production systems in terms of services such as soil fertility, erosion control, enhanced pollination and reduced pest outbreaks, as well as contributing to the well-being and sustainable livelihoods of local communities engaged in the management of local natural resources.

Implementation: Criteria for sustainable forest management have been adopted by the forest sector and there are many efforts by governments, indigenous and local communities, NGOs and the private sector to promote good agricultural, aquaculture and forestry practices and to apply law and governance mechanisms. While, as yet, there are no universally-agreed sustainability criteria, given the diversity of production systems and environmental conditions, each sector and many initiatives have developed their own criteria which could be used pending the development of a more common approach. In addition, customary use of biodiversity by indigenous and local communities can often offer lessons of wider applicability and could be enhanced by increasingly delegating governance and management responsibility to the local level. Similarly, the use of certification and labelling systems or standards could be promoted as part of this target. The Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity developed under the Convention on Biological Diversity could serve as a framework for developing further sustainability criteria. The application of the Ecosystem Approach would also assist with the implementation of this target. The programmes of work on agricultural, forest, inland water, marine and coastal, dry and sub-humid lands biodiversity, and the Convention’s work on sustainable use, as well as the International Initiatives on Soil Biodiversity and on Pollinators are particularly relevant to this target.

Indicators and baseline information: Relevant indicators for this target include: the area of forest, agricultural and aquaculture ecosystems under sustainable management; the proportion of products derived from sustainable sources; and trends in genetic diversity of domesticated animals, cultivated plants and fish species of major socioeconomic importance. Other possible indicators could include: the Ecological Footprint and related concepts; the extent of the use of good agricultural practices; the quality of forest governance; and the proportion of products derived from sustainable sources. Existing sustainability certification schemes could provide baseline information for some ecosystems and sectors.

Milestones:

Possible milestones for this target include:
  • By 2012, all Parties have identified or developed and promoted sustainability criteria and/or good practices for agriculture, aquaculture and forestry;
  • By 2015, the area of agriculture, aquaculture and forestry managed according to sustainability criteria has doubled.

24Tilman, D, et al., 2001. Forecasting agriculturally driven global environmental change. Science 292, 281–284.
25Steinfeld, H et al. (2006) Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Rome.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme