Protecting Nature is Entirely Within Humanity’s Reach: The Work Must Start Now

Credit: The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the intergovernmental
body which assesses the state of biodiversity and of the ecosystem
services it provides to society, in response to requests from
decision makers.

By Inger Andersen
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 15 2020 (IPS)

We have known for a long time that biodiversity, and the
services it provides, have been in decline. It is on this
background that ten years ago, the international community adopted
the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

The goal of the plan, and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets, was to
halt biodiversity loss and ensure that ecosystems continued to
provide essential services.

Governments and the wider society have acted to address the
biodiversity crisis. Some nations have made some progress. However,
as this Report Card on global progress demonstrates, we have not
met the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. And we are not on track for the
2050 Vision for Biodiversity.

Many of you might have heard me speak to the devastating
consequences of humanity’s imprint on nature, in particular, the
COVID-19 pandemic, a zoonotic disease transmitted between animals
and humans, which is by no means the first and will not be the
last.

From COVID-19 to massive wildfires, floods, melting glaciers and
unprecedented heat, our failure to meet the Aichi Targets – to
protect our home – has very real consequences. We can no longer
afford to cast nature to the side. Now is the time for a massive
step up, conserving, restoring and using biodiversity fairly and
sustainably.

If we do not, biodiversity will continue to buckle under the
weight of land- and sea-use change, overexploitation, climate
change, pollution and invasive alien species. This will further
damage human health, economies and societies, with particularly
dire impacts on indigenous communities.

This Global Biodiversity Outlook spells out transitions that can
create a society living in harmony with nature: transitions in how
we use land and forests; organize our agriculture and food supply
systems; manage fisheries; use water; manage urban environments and
tackle climate change. There are many examples that show how the
right policies can bring positive outcomes.

For example, where fisheries have been regulated and reported,
abundance of stocks has improved. Where coordinated action has been
taken to slow deforestation, habitat loss has been controlled.
Ecosystem restoration, when implemented effectively and with the
support of local populations, has reversed decades of
degradation.

To knit the global response together, UN Member States will soon
adopt the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. In the
Framework, we need ambitious, clear and common targets for a
nature-positive world.

Targets that can be broken down and implemented at the national
level. We need targets that can be added up, so we know whether we
are on track to meet the new goals that we will set. We need
financing, capacity development, transparency and
accountability.

We need buy-in from the sectors and groups – infrastructure,
agriculture, government, business and finance – that drive
biodiversity loss. This may seem like a tall order, but I believe
protecting nature is entirely within humanity’s reach. There is
today a far deeper understanding of what nature loss means for
health and well-being.

Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the risk of
biodiversity loss to profitability. And we are seeing countries,
companies and financiers begin to lean in on the nature agenda. As
we seek to stretch on the Nationally Determined Contributions
(NDCs), we have a real shot at embedding ecosystem-based adaptation
and nature-based solutions into climate action.

We don’t need to wait for the Biodiversity Framework to be
finalized before we begin this work. As the UN Secretary-General
has noted, this is a “make or break moment for the planet”.

As we seek to reboot the global economy following COVID-19, how
we prioritize and direct our resources will either secure human,
economic and environmental health for generations to come, or take
us down the grey path that has brought with it the suffering we are
seeing today.

We have little choice in the path we must take.

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The post
Protecting Nature is Entirely Within Humanity’s Reach: The Work
Must Start Now
appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Inger Andersen is UN Under-Secretary-General
and Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

The post
Protecting Nature is Entirely Within Humanity’s Reach: The Work
Must Start Now
appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Protecting Nature is Entirely Within Humanity’s Reach: The
Work Must Start Now