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Engage

All data  and multilateral agreements considered, the solutions to reverse the biodiversity crisis are, and have been for decades, right in front of us.  

 

Almost 30 years ago, the Rio Earth Summit took place to create a comprehensive strategy for sustainable development, while ensuring a healthy and viable world for future generations. One of the key agreements adopted was the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Bringing together 196 parties to coordinate a global response to the biodiversity crisis, it is now one of the strongest multilateral environmental agreements in existence. The creation of the CBD’s 2011-2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets is one of its most important achievements. On paper, that is, as the vast majority of the targets were not met and the biodiversity crisis continues to worsen [1].  

 

The release of the IPBES 2019 landmark assessment [1] was the latest addition to the insurmountable collection of scientific knowledge on the severity of the biodiversity crisis. Extracting evidence from over 15,000 publications and indigenous and local knowledge bases, the assessment was accepted by the majority of governments across the world. The results are alarming: more than 1 million species are threatened with extinction; the main drivers of biodiversity loss are anthropogenic; and nature’s undeniable contribution to people is crumbling. However, transformative action can reverse these trends.

 

The EU’s agreement and involvement with regional and global environmental conventions and platforms, such as the CBD, CMS, CITES, or IPBES has undoubtedly contributed to the current level of environmental ambitions under the Green Deal and Biodiversity Strategy. Despite this, the EU failed to achieve significant progress towards its headline target of “halting biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as possible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss” [2], and is worlds away from achieving the CBD’s 2050 vision of “Living in Harmony with Nature” [3]. History has left a trail of recycled promises and rebranded objectives, with rarely any acceptable results to back them up. Progress is simply too slow, and time is not on our side.  

 

However, it is not too late to act; we still have the opportunity to create a more sustainable, compassionate and just society.  Known solutions address, amongst others, the holistic use of land and sea, food systems, cities, water resources, sustainable climate action, and our relationship with nature. We believe in the EU’s potential to further design and implement those solutions. The current political prioritisation of biodiversity under the Green Deal, humankind’s increased understanding of the crisis and means to reverse it, public support to Build Back Better [4], and the upcoming CBD COP 15 in Kunming provide a great opportunity for the EU to place itself on the right side of history at a crucial time.

 

We therefore call for:

  • The EU to engage intellectually and politically with best-available scientific and socio-economic evidence on the urgent biodiversity crisis, its impacts and mitigating measures to create ambitious, inclusive and transformative change across economic, social, political and technological sectors, to redefine our relationship with nature.

  • The EU to engage with the global and regional multilateral environmental agreements, and align the EU’s priorities, across all sectors, to those outlined by global environmental conventions and their visions. 

Read more on our specific demands to Engage:

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References

[1]  Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) (2019) Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany. 56 pages. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3553579

[2] European Commission (2020) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. EC, Brussels, Belgium (COM/2011/0244)

[3]  Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) The strategic plan for biodiversity 2011–2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. COP 10 Decision X/2. CBD, Montreal, Canada.

[4] United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) (2015) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 - 2030. UNDRR Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland. 32 pages.