The 2010 Biodiversity Target
It is a target agreed by all Parties to the Convention in the Hague in 2002 “to achieve by 2010 a significant 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.”
Heads of State and Government at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 committed themselves to the 2010 Biodiversity Target, support for the commitment was reiterated at the Millennium Summit in New York in 2005.
Why is biodiversity loss a concern?
Healthy, biodiverse ecosystems provide the goods and services that humans need for their well-being.
- Many of these goods and services are in decline, such as the provision of fresh water, marine fisheries, the cleansing of atmospheric pollutants, protection from natural hazards, pollination of our crops and pest control.
- The loss of biological diversity destabilizes ecosystems and makes them more vulnerable to shocks and disturbances such as hurricanes and floods, which may further reduce the ability of environments to provide for human well-being.
- These negative consequences are felt most harshly by the rural poor, who rely most directly on the services provided by local ecosystems for their well-being. For this reason, biodiversity loss poses a significant barrier to meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
What are the current trends in biodiversity loss?
Ecosystems across the planet have been impacted by biodiversity loss.
- Deforestation continues at an alarmingly high rate. Since 2000, six million hectares of primary forest have been lost annually.
- Marine and coastal ecosystems have suffered due to human activities. In the Caribbean, average hard coral cover declined from 50% to 10% in the last three decades. 35% of mangroves have been lost in the last two decades.
- While protected areas cover some 13% of the world’s land area, these are unevenly distributed, with only 40% of the world’s ecoregions reaching the 10% benchmark. Only some half a percent of marine areas are covered. And not all of these areas are effectively managed.
- The average abundance of species is declining – 40% loss between 1970 and 2000. Species present in rivers, lakes and marshlands have declined by 50%. Declines are evident in amphibians, African mammals, birds in agricultural lands, corals and commonly harvested fish species.
- Habitats, such as forests and river systems are becoming fragmented, affecting their ability to maintain biodiversity and deliver ecosystem services.
- The intensification of fishing has led to a decline of large fish. In the North Atlantic, their numbers have declined by 66% in the last 50 years.