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The latest report from the IPBES: the dangerous decline of nature

At the end of the 7th plenary session of the IPBES – Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – the 150 scientists gathered presented their report on the state of the world’s biodiversity. The objective of the report was to measure the impact of human activity on nature. The conclusion was damning and human responsibility immense.

The erosion of biodiversity is a reality

The rate of species extinction is unprecedented. The current rate at which species are vanishing is 100 to 1,000 times greater than the natural rate of extinction. Some scientists are even talking about the sixth mass extinction! Concretely, of the 8 million animal and plant species identified, about 1 million are threatened with extinction during the next few decades. 40% of amphibian species and 33% of coral reefs are threatened.

The impact of humans on the degradation of nature and the environment is beyond doubt: 85% of wetlands have been lost, 75% of the world’s land surface has been modified and 66% of marine ecosystems are affected by our activities.

However, biodiversity ensures numerous services on which we depend: wetlands play a vital role in climate regulation, forests store carbon, pollination by flying insects attracted by flowers is indispensable for three quarters of the world’s crops, and thus for feeding humanity. Biodiversity gives us the water, food and air we need to survive. The contributions made by nature to human life are mostly difficult to replace or are irreplaceable and indispensable for life of good quality!

The health of the ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, our means of subsistence, food security, and the health and quality of life everywhere in the world.

Sir Robert Watson, Chairman of the IPBES.

There’s still time to act!

The policies implemented at present do not favour conservation or the protection of biodiversity. Most of the objectives of Aichi, set out in the strategic plan for biological biodiversity 2011-2020, and the Goals for Sustainable Development for 2030 will not be achieved if we continue along this road.

But it isn’t too late to change direction. The report clearly stated that: the collapse of life is not inevitable, but it will be without radical change.

In terms of governance, inclusive and adaptive approaches must be implemented. It is also necessary to carry out actions to support indigenous peoples and local communities. Indeed, their local knowhow are a source of solutions and inspiration which we should promote to ensure more sustainable biodiversity management. Lastly, multisectoral strategies must be determined to transform the public and private sectors, to ensure sustainable development locally, nationally and internationally.

The report also recommends new frameworks for investment and innovation in the private sector; the funding of conservation policies; and changes in the financial and economic systems in favour of more sustainable policies.

Lastly, greater international cooperation, with strong commitments in favour of international ecological and mutually supportive objectives is vital.

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