In 2010, leaders from 196 countries gathered in Japan and agreed on lists of goals designed to save the Earth. The Aichi Biodiversity Targets laid out a 10 year plan to conserve the world’s biodiversity, promote sustainability and protect ecosystems. Of all the participating countries on an average, more than a third of national targets are on track to be met, half of the national targets were seeing slower progress, 11% of targets show no significant progress and 1% are actually moving in the wrong direction.
Of the 20 targets, only 6 targets have been “partially achieved”. Those are preventing invasive species, conserving protected areas, access to and sharing benefits from genetic resources, biodiversity strategies and action plans, sharing information and mobilizing resources.
Targets we “Achieved”
- Aichi Biodiversity Target 1 (Creating awareness about the value of biodiversity)
- Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 (17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, to be effectively and equitably managed)
- Aichi Biodiversity Target 16 (Access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation)
- Aichi Biodiversity Target 17 (Creation, adoption and implementation of an effective, participatory and updated national biodiversity strategy and action plan)
- Aichi Biodiversity Target 19 (Improvement and dissemination of knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity).
The global rate of deforestation has fallen by a third compared to the previous decade. About 200 successful eradication of invasive species on islands have taken place. Some countries have introduced good fisheries management policies, which helped build back marine fish stocks that have been hard hit by over fishing and environmental degradation. There has been a significant increase in the number of protected natural areas, from 29% in 2000 to 44% at present.
Where we failed:
Though the achievements are promising and hopeful, it is nowhere near enough. Of the 20 targets which are further broken down into 60 elements, 13 elements show no progress. Habitat loss and degradation remains high, especially in forests and tropical regions. Global wetlands are declining and rivers are fragmenting. Pollution is rampant, more than 60% of coral reefs are under threat. The target on protecting ecosystems of women, indigenous communities and poor people were still not met. The lackluster efforts are partly to blame on funding. The current global spending on biodiversity efforts stands at 78-91 billion, a measly sum in front of the gargantuan task of preserving the nature.The ‘Global Biodiversity Outlook 5’ , published before a Key UN summit, recently, found that despite progress in some areas, natural habitats have continued to disappear,vast number of species remain threatened by human activities and $500 bn of environmentally damaging government subsidies have not been eliminated.
The remedy :
Despite the abysmal results of Aichi Biodiversity Targets, it is not late to start the act of resurrecting our ecosystem. Many of the actions needed has already been identified and agreed upon under Paris climate change agreement. The eight areas where focus on sustainability is needed are land and forests, agriculture, food systems, fisheries and oceans, cities and infrastructure, freshwater, climate action and an integrated ‘One Health’ Global framework. The current UN Biodiversity Head, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema is of the opinion that unless we stop exploiting nature in unsustainable ways, our own wellbeing, security and prosperity are at threat.