Failure of the CBD 2010 targets

5 07 2010

I’m currently attending the 2010 International Congress for Conservation Biology in Edmonton, Canada. I thought it would be good to tweet and blog my way through on topics that catch my attention.

Yesterday I attended one memorable presentation by Bastian Bomhard of the United Nations Environment Programme‘s (UNEP) World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC). He provided some sobering statistics.

The opening statement in the background section of the Convention on Biological Diversity‘s (CBD) 2010 Biodiversity Target reads:

“In April 2002, the Parties to the Convention committed themselves to achieve by 2010 a significant [my emphasis] reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.”

Suffice it to say that we have failed to meet the target.

I won’t dwell too long on the fact that ‘…a significant reduction…’ is utterly meaningless, subjective and a useless policy tool (in my opinion) because it cannot be quantified as stated, Bastian did tell us that we failed even to obtain a ‘reduction’.

More specifically, parties to the CBD 2010 target agreed in 2010 to protect at least 10 % of the world’s ecological regions (ecoregions) by 2010 — almost half of the world’s terrestrial ecoregions do not meet even this modest proportional protection.

Another sobering fact is that the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE), the organisation who “… aims to prevent extinctions by identifying and safeguarding key sites where species are in imminent danger of disappearing”, lists nearly 600 sites worldwide, and only 35 % of those are completely protected. On average, only 42 % of each AZE site is protected.

Also, of BirdLife International‘s 11000 worldwide Important Bird Areas, only 29 % are completely protected, and on average only 39 % of each site is protected.

On the positive side perhaps, although we haven’t yet succeeded in achieving the CBD’s modest target for most ecoregions, there still is an increasing number of protected areas over time (e.g., the World Database on Protected Areas lists over 130000 separated protected areas). So I guess our efforts are achieving something.

The greatest increases haven’t, contrary perhaps to popular opinion, been in the developed world – developing nations lead that particular pack. Also, Latin America now has some of the highest levels of protection worldwide.

Clearly we have a lot of work to do.

CJA Bradshaw

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13 responses

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7 07 2010

thanks for attending my talk. here are a few corrections:

Ecoregions: almost half of the world’s terrestrial (not most; this applies to marine ecoregions which i didn’t talk about) ecoregions do not meet even this modest proportional protection

IBAs: on average only 39 % (not 30 %) of each site is protected

The greatest recent increases haven’t, contrary perhaps to popular opinion, been in the developed world (not developing world; typo)…

Amy has already picked up another typo.

;-) b


7 07 2010

Obviously my notes weren’t that flash. Will update. Thanks.


6 07 2010

Success of Protected Areas!

I noticed that your number of protected areas in the WDPA was missing a 0.

I am happy to say that for several years now, the WDPA has had over 130,000 PAs and as of today the WDPA contains exactly 147, 897 PA’s!


6 07 2010

Thank you, Amy. Rushed post written at 05.00! I’ll update the article.


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