Nonprofits issue call for countries to renew commitments to Aichi Biodiversity Targets and increase funding, action.

At the Convention on Biological Diversity today, global conservation NGOs released a report revealing that just 5 percent of countries who have reported progress on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets are on track to reach their global biodiversity goals by 2020.The assessment, which was conducted by Birdlife International, the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB), Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and WWF and titled “Convention on Biological Diversity: Progress Report Toward the Aichi Biodiversity Targets,” found that while 75 percent of reporting countries have made some progress toward meeting the Targets, their pace is largely insufficient to meet the agreed-upon deadline. Twenty percent of reporting countries have made no progress at all.

“For the Aichi Targets to be met, all countries must play their part,” said Sarah Nelson, head of the international policy department at the RSPB. “The results from this study are therefore extremely concerning.”

The team found that countries have made the most progress on process-oriented Targets such as Target 17, which involved updating their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs). Target 20, Resource Mobilization, in which countries secure financing to meet other Targets, scored among the lowest in terms of progress, with 35 percent of countries reporting no movement. The team also found that overall, higher-income countries set weaker goals than lower-income countries, but showed slightly higher progress toward achieving them.

The Targets are part of a 10-year plan that was adopted at the 2010 Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, and serves as the world’s roadmap for halting biodiversity loss — and enhancing the benefits of doing so for both people and nature.

“The Aichi Targets help focus our work to protect the world’s ecosystems,” said Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, vice president of global policy at Conservation International. “Targets such as conserving 17 percent of terrestrial and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas by 2020 are doable — and critical if we are to build resilience to climate change. We urge countries to recommit to them — and our team is here to help.”

To develop the assessment, the NGO team examined data provided by the CBD Secretariat that analyzed the NBSAPs submitted by individual countries through July 2016. 52 percent of CBD Parties submitted such plans and the data they contained was scored by the CBD Secretariat. The NGO team looked at the extent to which countries’ plans aligned with the Aichi Targets as well as their progress toward the Targets, and considered factors such as economic status and political groupings such as the EU.

The report urged all Parties to be more ambitious in their commitments and intensify their progress, and encouraged higher-income countries in particular to support their lower-income neighbors in converting ambition to action.

Additional partner quotes:

“Despite having agreed ambitious global biodiversity targets, low scores in ambition and progress demonstrate that with competing national priorities, biodiversity conservation is still not at the top of the list. We hope that this week, countries will take important steps in fully valuing and recognizing the benefits of biodiversity for all,” said Melanie Heath, director of science, policy and information at BirdLife International.

“While overall progress to date is insufficient, one silver lining is that least developed countries are articulating a higher level of ambition than developed countries, and are thus demonstrating a different development pathway that better recognizes the value of nature to economic growth and prosperity,” said Andrew Deutz, director of international government relations at The Nature Conservancy.

“Financial support of developing countries is crucial to achieve the Aichi Targets in countries with biodiversity hotspots. We keep developed countries accountable for their commitments to double international financial contributions and to mobilize additional funding for biodiversity.” said Deon Nel, conservation director at WWF International.

This article is from The Nature Conservancy and can be viewed here.

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