GBO5 — Global Biodiversity Outlook 5

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On Sep 15, the United Nations (UN, 2020a) published the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO5), reporting the “achievements” of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011–2020. Ten years ago, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) set 20 targets of stopping biodiversity loss coined as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (ABT) for the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 (Figure 1), GBO-5 provides a global summary of progress towards the ABT, summarising the findings of the IPBES Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, as well as the national reports provided by countries on their implementation of the CBD.

There are 20 targets in the ABT, divided into 5 categories (Strategic Goals A, B, C, D, E, see Figure 1):

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Figure 1 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020. Source: UN (2020a) GBO5

Unfortunately, we have failed miserably. None of the 20 targets fully met after 10 years. Only 6 targets can be met partially. IPBES (2019) estimates that there is an 82% decline in the global biomass of wild mammals, 47% decline of natural ecosystems, 25% plant and animal species threatened with extinction, and 23% decline in the abundance of naturally present land species. Details of the IPBES report have been discussed in my article last year (Yiu, 2019). Last week, the World Wildlife Fund’s (2020) Living Planet Report further “estimates that globally, populations of nearly 21,000 species of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians plummeted by an average of 68 percent between 1970 and 2016.” (Figure 2, Zimmer, 2020)

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Figure 2 Living Planet Indexes. Source: WWF (2020)

Figures 3,4,5,6,7,8 extracted from GBO5 report the progress towards the 20 ABTs, with yellow indicates that progress has been made towards the element but that it has not been achieved. Red indicates no significant change in the element. Purple indicates that the trends are moving away from achieving the element.

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Figure 3 Assessment of progress towards the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (1). Source: UN (2020a) GBO5
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Figure 4 Assessment of progress towards the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (2). Source: UN (2020a) GBO5
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Figure 5 Assessment of progress towards the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (3). Source: UN (2020a) GBO5
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Figure 6 Assessment of progress towards the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (4). Source: UN (2020a) GBO5
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Figure 7 Assessment of progress towards the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (5). Source: UN (2020a) GBO5
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Figure 8 Assessment of progress towards the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (6). Source: UN (2020a) GBO5

For example, in Target 5, the target is that in 2020 the rate of loss of habitat is at least halved (element 2), degradation and fragmentation can be significantly reduced (element 3). But element (2) is colored RED and element (3) is colored PURPLE!

The United Nations Summit on Biodiversity will be convened by the President of the General Assembly on 30 September 2020, the theme of the Summit is Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development. Figure 9 shows the framework (UN, 2020b) for the coming 10-year targets. However, as COVID-19 is still spreading fiercely, most of the governments are busy dealing with the health problem and the recessions, the priority of biodiversity is not high, even though many people understand that the cause of pandemic can be related to biodiversity.

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References

UN (2020a) GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY OUTLOOK 5, Sep, 5. https://www.cbd.int/gbo5

UN (2020b) The United Nations Summit on Biodiversity will be convened by the President of the General Assembly on 30 September 2020, Theme: Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development. https://www.un.org/pga/74/united-nations-summit-on-biodiversity/

WWF (2020) Living Planet Report — Bending the Curve of Biodiversity Loss, WWF. https://f.hubspotusercontent20.net/hubfs/4783129/LPR/PDFs/ENGLISH-FULL.pdf

Yiu, C.Y. (2019) Biodiversity is at stake, Medium, May 25. https://medium.com/@ecyY/biodiversity-is-at-stake-c1fca01b40b9

Zimmer, K. (2020) The world missed a critical deadline to safeguard biodiversity, UN report says, National Geographic, Sep 15. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/09/world-missed-critical-deadline-to-safeguard-biodiversity-un-report/?cmpid=org%3Dngp%3A%3Amc%3Dsocial%3A%3Asrc%3Dfacebook%3A%3Acmp%3Deditorial%3A%3Aadd%3Dfb20200915science-UNbiodiversitydeadline%3A%3Arid%3D&sf237776923=1&fbclid=IwAR1L18CURB7f4OomYkO8yNkhUfm-7Q40fC_i4TuIfYCZvfC9uWHoKFZpZb0

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ecyY is the Founder of Real Estate Development and Building Research & Information Centre REDBRIC

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