May 20, 2008 Future generations face hunger, thirst, disease and disaster if we carry on losing biodiversity. And as biodiversity plummets our use of resources soars. WWF now estimates that biodiversity has declined by more than a quarter in the last 35 years.
The stark warning comes as WWF launches its 2010 and Beyond: Rising to the Biodiversity Challenge report which contains the latest Living Planet index – the internationally agreed way to measure progress towards the global target of reducing biodiversity loss by 2010– and which reveals a continuing decline in biodiversity.
Food, clean water, medicines and protection from natural hazards are important ingredients in maintaining our security and quality of life. If they are to be maintained then the species, natural habitats and ecosystems that support them need to be protected. In 2002 the world’s governments set themselves a target to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, but WWF’s report shows that they are clearly not on track.
“Biodiversity underpins the health of the planet and has a direct impact on all our lives. Put simply, reduced biodiversity means millions of people face a future where food supplies are more vulnerable to pests and disease and where water is in irregular or short supply,” said James Leape, WWF International’s Director General.
“No one can escape the impact of biodiversity loss because reduced global diversity translates quite clearly into fewer new medicines, greater vulnerability to natural disasters and greater effects from global warming.”
In 2002 the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity set clear targets to achieve a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at global, regional and national levels. However, the 2010 and Beyond: Rising to the Biodiversity Challenge report shows governments are not on track to meet the 2010 target and that environment ministries cannot reverse this trend without integrated support at the highest level.
WWF is calling on governments during the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity Ninth Meeting (CBD COP 9) in Bonn, 19-30 May 2008, to make the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity a political priority.
Concretely, WWF is asking governments to:
- develop joint implementation plans between environment, agriculture, food, water, finance, and health in order to take urgent action to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.
- live up to their commitment to put in place effective protected area systems, with the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities and promoting equity and benefit sharing.
- to adopt a target to achieve zero net annual deforestation by 2020 and initiate collaboration between the CBD and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to reduce green house gas emissions from deforestation and degradation.
WWF’s International Policy Director, Gordon Shepherd, added: “This is not rocket science. The reason governments are failing to meet their biodiversity targets is because they haven’t provided adequate financial and technical resources. They have also failed to develop economic incentives and other measures to preserve biodiversity. In particular environment ministries must work for the active support and involvement of ministers with a mutual interest in saving biodiversity, especially those responsible for development, finance, agriculture, fisheries and climate."
“WWF is calling on all the governments that signed the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2002 to do what they gave their word they would do: implement the Strategic Plan by establishing national targets and allocating sufficient financial, human and technical resources.”
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