UN targets to protect wildlife remain unmet

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Deforestation - habitat loss

The list of 20 UN targets set 10 years ago to protect wildlife are largely unmet. The targets included reducing habitat loss, preventing harmful pollution, preventing wildlife extinctions, protecting land and sea and managing sustainable fish stocks. The UN has said that only six of 20 targets would be “partially achieved” by 2020 which was the deadline. The other 14 targets have been missed.

Deforestation - habitat loss

Deforestation – habitat loss. Photo by Francesco Paggiaro from Pexels

There was a commitment to cut the rate of loss of natural habitat by at least 50%. This has not been met. A note of optimism can be stated in that the rate of deforestation has fallen by a third over the past five years compared with the previous 10 years. It is down from 15 million ha per year over the 10 years to 2010 to 10 million ha over the five years to 2020.

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is rising. The most important areas of wildlife have not been protected. Although the target of protecting at least 17% of land and 10% of ocean may be exceeded.

Many wild species were now closer to extinction than they were in 2010. Without conservation extinctions would have been at twice the current projected levels.

Despite the rate of biodiversity loss being at unprecedented levels in the history of humankind, there are some good things happening which should be encouraged and praised. So said the executive director of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Elizabeth Mrema.

The world needs to step up its global ambition to tackle the destruction of nature said Mike Barrett of the charity WWF-UK. The UK government proclaims that they have a landmark environment bill which sets out ambitious goals for diversity and nature. This government, they say, believe that nature matters and they are investing £640 million through a nature climate fund and they are legislating for “local nature recovery strategies”.