Scientists call for interlinked biodiversity goals

26th October 2020


Butterflies istock 641101106

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Science ,
  • sea ice loss ,
  • Biodiversity ,
  • Ecosystems ,
  • Global

Author

Karen McAuley

A new set of interlinked and ambitious biodiversity goals is needed to tackle nature's alarming decline, an international team of scientists has warned.

In a new paper, more than 60 leading biodiversity experts from 26 countries argue that ecosystems, species, genetic diversity, and nature's contributions to people all need distinct goals, which must be woven together into a “safety net“ set at a high level of ambition.

They conclude that overarching goals – such as the below 2°C target for climate – are “risky“ for biodiversity, and that a holistic approach is “critical“ for nations setting new goals.

This comes after the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) announced that none of its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets for 2020 have been reached, with negotiators now preparing a new set of goals for 2030 and 2050 to be enshrined by the 15th Convention of the Parties in 2021.

“Political will, competing interests, and other implementation challenges have had a major role to play in these past failures,“ said Piero Visconti, co-author and researcher at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. “However, imperfect targets and indicators, as well as insufficient guidance for national implementation of global strategies, were also important factors.

“Our work is a timely contribution to ensure that strategic goals and associated targets and indicators indicate the road that governments, the private sector, and civil society have to take to put nature on a path of recovery.“

The paper's authors argue that three principles are key for successful biodiversity target-setting, the first of which is multiple goals, each corresponding to a major facet of nature.

“Although having one target based solely on ecosystems, species, or nature's contributions to people as a shortcut for the whole of nature might be tempting, the balance of published evidence is against it,“ they write.

Secondly, as the facets of nature are interlinked and affect each other for better or worse, the authors say that goals must be defined and delivered holistically, rather than in isolation.

“Thirdly, only the highest level of ambition for setting each goal, and implementing all goals in an integrated manner, will give a realistic chance of “bending the curve“ of nature's decline by 2050,“ the authors add.

The paper focuses explicitly on biological aspects, and does not evaluate the economic or political consequences of the goals, which the authors argue “would be a recipe for failure“.

Image credit: iStock

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

How much is too much?

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

In 2020, IEMA and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) jointly wrote and published A User Guide to Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. This has now been updated to include three key developments in the field.

2nd April 2024

Read more

Hello and welcome to another edition of Transform. I hope that you’ve had a good and productive few months so far.

28th March 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close