Are countries measuring up?

Will countries meet the 2010 biodiversity target to reduce or halt the rate of loss of biodiversity? According to the results of the Countdown 2010 Readiness Assessment the G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) show medium to low performance in achieving the target.

Ahmed Djoghlaf

In addition, Countdown 2010 analyzed the five countries connected to the G8 process as emerging economies – Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa – and they also showed medium to low performance.

The Countdown 2010 Readiness Assessment measured countries’ responses in terms of efforts taken within the environment sector, as well as national policies to integrate biodiversity concerns and raising awareness across sectors and decision-making processes.

“In 2002 countries committed to save biodiversity by 2010. It is now our duty to verify if they are making progress on their commitment,” said Sebastian Winkler, Head of Countdown 2010. “The Readiness Assessment is an invaluable contribution to overall research on countries’ performances. It complements other ongoing studies such as the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership, the Global Biodiversity Outlook and SEBI2010.”

“Countries are not doing enough. We need to once more remind governments of the necessary actions to be taken to reach the target,” said Gordon Shepherd, WWF International. “Increased cooperation is vital to stop global threats, such as the illegal trading of biodiversity components. Asian countries are the most affected.”

The report found that the integration of biodiversity into policies and programmes of other sectors is highly insignificant in almost all the countries. General project- level impact assessment also needs to be strengthened in terms of biodiversity integration.

There are some positive trends with regard to conservation of forest areas, using forest certification as a tool in some countries, with Germany providing a good example. Policies for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture practices are well established in some countries like USA, but policies are largely lacking in some others.

“Joint efforts are still needed to integrate biodiversity and climate change policies. 84 percent of the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans contain no strategic objectives or activities related to climate change adaptation,” said Ahmed Djoghlaf from the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Biodiversity awareness is among the top priority for countries like Japan, Canada and UK, and the European Union. The public needs to be more aware of the values of habitat and genetic diversity, and sustainable use of the existing resources.

Implementation of the global biodiversity conventions still receives a low priority. Some countries are still not a party to some of the important biodiversity related conventions and there is a major delay in submission of annual reports to some other conventions.

Work area: 
Regional species initiatives
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