Twenty targets designed to tackle the extinction crisis and restore the earth’s natural capital by 2020 were agreed on by most of the world’s governments at a meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Japan in 2010. Latest data, however, shows that many of those targets will not be met. As the 2014 CBD conference gets under way today in the Republic of Korea, IUCN calls for urgent commitment of action and financial resources to step up efforts to achieve the targets.
"Halfway through our Big Plan for nature, it is clear that the urgent call we gave in 2010 has not been answered – many of the targets the world agreed on will not be met in time,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “We can’t overstate the need for governments to intensify their efforts and resources for the sake of nature and the well-being of their people. This is the best investment we can – and must – make to ensure a sustainable future for all.”
Better protection for protected areas
While progress towards achieving the global targets of protecting 17% of land and 10% of the ocean has been advancing significantly, many of the established protected areas are not sufficiently managed and funded.
“Countries seem to be most concerned with increasing the coverage of protected areas,” says Jane Smart, Global Director, IUCN Biodiversity Group. “But other aspects, such as effective management, conservation of areas of particular importance for biodiversity, and ecological representation, remain key challenges.”
For example, recent research on vegetation loss in protected areas in South Asia has shown that rates of habitat conversion inside protected areas were indistinguishable from that on unprotected land. Similarly, research in Latin America has found a 250% increase in forest loss in protected areas in recent years.
“Well-managed protected areas are a crucial contribution to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development,” says Trevor Sandwith, Director of IUCN’s Protected Areas Programme. “Countries need to urgently incorporate protected area management into their national development policies. There is still some time to achieve this, but only if there is increased political commitment worldwide.”
Conserving the planet’s protected areas and promoting nature’s solutions to social and environmental challenges will be the focus of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 taking place in Sydney, Australia, 12-19 November. Among other announcements, the Congress will see the release of the latest data on the global coverage of protected areas.
Biodiversity and sustainable development
The theme of the CBD conference is 'Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’. Conservation, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity are the foundation of sustainable development, and need a central role in our efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
“Social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development are inherently linked,” says Cyriaque Sendashonga, Global Director, IUCN Policy and Programme Group. “Biodiversity offers essential nature-based solutions in addressing some of today’s global development challenges, including our fight against poverty and efforts to enhance our well-being. If we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, protection of nature must receive more attention – and more financial resources.”