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UN: Only 6 out of 20 biodiversity targets “partially achieved”

15 September 2020 

Only 6 out of 20 international biodiversity targets have been “‘partially achieved” over the past decade, a new UN report concludes. 

The figure was revealed in the fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook report which was published today, as the document presented a final report card today on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets that were set in 2010. 

No goal amongst the outlined 20 was fully met. 

The report emphasises that humanity now stands at “a crossroads” in regards to the legacy it wishes to leave to future generations, according to the Convention on Biological Diversity Elizabeth Maruma Mrema. 

“As nature degrades, new opportunities emerge for the spread to humans and animals of devastating diseases like this year’s coronavirus. 

The window of time available is short, but the pandemic has also demonstrated that transformative changes are possible when they must be made,” Ms. Mrema added. 

The report goes on to outline “eight transitions” that must be implemented in order to preserve biodiversity. 

These include measures such as restoring ecosystems, redesigning agriculture, moving towards a plant-based diet, and deploying green infrastructure in urban areas. 

Additionally, the document highlighted some areas of improvement that have been recorded, which included falling rates of deforestation, the rising rates of eradication of invasive alien species from islands and increased awareness of biodiversity worldwide. 

Wildlife decline 

The report comes just days after new findings from the WWF revealed that roughly two-thirds of the world’s wildlife population had disappeared over the past 36 years. 

The Living Planet Report 2020 found that 75 per cent of the planet’s ice-free land surface has been significantly altered by human activity, the majority of the ocean is polluted and more than 85 per cent of total wetland area has been lost. 

Much of this is attributable to land use change, food production, deforestation and wildlife trade, according to the WWF. 

The Living Planet Report revealed the “sheer magnitude of the war on nature that humans have unleashed and international coordination like the EU Biodiversity Strategy will be “hugely important” in addressing the crisis, according to Irish Wildlife Trust Campaigns Officer Padraic Fogarty.

But in order to implement effective policy, the Irish Government must provide a firm commitment, he said. 

“It needs to be funded and local communities empowered to drive it on,” Mr Fogarty told The Green News. 

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