Global biodiversity has been declining alarmingly despite a pledge by world leaders in 2002 to help curb the loss of earthly life forms, a new United Nations-supported study shows. "Our analysis shows that governments have failed to deliver on the commitments they made in 2002: biodiversity is still being lost as fast as ever, and we have made little headway in reducing the pressures on species, habitats and ecosystems," said Stuart Butchart of the UN Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP/WCMC) and BirdLife International, and the paper's lead author. The study is published in the latest edition of the journal Science. In more than 30 indicators � measures of different aspects of biodiversity, including changes in species' populations and risk of extinction, habitat extent and community composition � the study found no evidence of a significant reduction in the rate of decline of biodiversity. The pressures facing biodiversity continue to increase, the study reveals, and concludes that the 2010 target for reducing the loss of biodiversity has not been achieved. The findings represent the first assessment of how the targets made through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2002 have been missed. "Since 1970, we have reduced animal populations by 30 per cent, the area of mangroves and sea grasses by 20 percent and the coverage of living corals by 40 per cent," said UNEP's Chief Scientist, Joseph Alcamo. "These losses are clearly unsustainable, since biodiversity makes a key contribution to human well-being and sustainable development, as recognised by the UN Millennium Development Goals," he said.


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