Knowledge for better food systems

Limited progress made on global biodiversity goals

This report from the Convention on Biological Diversity summarises the most recent information on trends in biodiversity. It finds that none of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets - the deadline for most of which is 2020 - have been fully met, although six of the targets have been partially met. It also describes the areas of the targets where progress has been made.

Over the decade leading up to 2020, progress has been made in the following areas:

  • 91 countries have prepared accounts through the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting, which incorporates both economic and environmental information.
  • The global rate of deforestation has fallen by one third compared to the previous decade.
  • Marine fish stocks have maintained or recovered their abundance in the places where robust management policies have been introduced.
  • There are more successful cases of eradicating invasive species from islands.
  • The extent of protected areas has expanded between 2000 and 2020: from 10% to 15% of land, and from 3% to 7% of marine areas.
  • Conservation interventions such as hunting restrictions and reintroductions have reduced extinctions of birds and mammals in the past decades compared to expected numbers of extinctions without these actions.
  • The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation is in force in at least 87 countries.
  • 170 countries have updated their national biodiversity strategies and action plans.
  • Significantly more information and data on biodiversity are now available to citizens, researchers and policy makers.
  • Financial resources available through international flows to support biodiversity have doubled, although the report points out that this is not as much as is needed and that funding for activities harmful to biodiversity remains much higher in comparison.

The report concludes that “On our current trajectory, biodiversity, and the services it provides, will continue to decline, jeopardising the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.” It notes that the pressures on biodiversity are driven by unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and that ambitious steps are required to “sustainably increase agricultural productivity and adopt more sustainable diets.”

Read the full report, Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, here. See also the Foodsource resource How do food systems affect land-use and biodiversity?

 
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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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