Scientists propose a three-step post-2020 framework for global biodiversity goals that governments must implement at the national level
A team of 55 scientists established an interconnected three-part framework on how to effectively implement international biodiversity targets at national and subnational levels.
The world is currently not on track to achieve the 2050 vision of the Convention on Biological Diversity of “living in harmony with nature”.
While international governments have consistently failed to meet most of their biodiversity targets, such as the decline of common bird populations on agricultural land in Europe – which have declined by 17% since 2000 according to Eurostat – this framework aims to limit the continued failure to protect biodiversity. .
“The loss of biodiversity is a major threat to human health and well-being”
Emphasizing the need to refine these stages of the framework in each implementation cycle, the scientists say adopting the framework will advance national and subnational governments in protecting biodiversity globally.
Professor Aletta Bonn, senior author and research group leader at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research – UFZ, Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and iDiv said: “We must act boldly, now, to stop and reverse loss of biodiversity.
“Governments must systematically translate global biodiversity goals into concrete national actions and ensure responsible accountability in all sectors. We urge rapid and reliable investments in securing our survival system – for the future of our children. “
In 2022, government representatives will meet at the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity, COP 15, in China to negotiate new global biodiversity targets for the decades to come under the Convention on Biological Diversity ( CBD).
First step: identify actions and strengthen ownership
The first step is to transform the global goals into national goals and action plans.
This will be done by identifying the sectors responsible for implementation, such as agriculture, infrastructure, trade, finance and others. This plan should be co-designed by a wide range of actors from different sectors.
The first step aims to produce a combined ownership of the action plans and fill the accountability gaps, by describing where biodiversity issues originate and which sectors to focus on to address these issues.
For example, farmer associations should recognize actions important for agro-biodiversity and pollination services. In addition, the financial sector should push investment decisions to fiscally support social and environmental change.
Second step: implementation and integration
The second step calls for action in these aforementioned areas. Demand a diverse range of effective intervention tools to go beyond awareness and implement real change.
A potential challenge here will be the need to redesign existing frameworks in place, such as financial flows and network structures, which currently support actions that harm biodiversity.
Unfortunately, this continues to be the case for many subsidies, as seen in agricultural policy, where effective financing mechanisms are needed to stimulate ecosystem restoration. Current CBD plans aim to put 20% of degraded ecosystems back into restoration by 2030.
Dr Andrea Perino, researcher at iDiv and first author of the publication said: “We need to recover from past biodiversity loss and implement ambitious restoration to bend the curve, substantial investments by different sectors and plans for recovery. Comprehensive restoration will protect ecosystem health and well-being in the future.
Step three: assessment, accountability and adaptive management
Finally, the third step consists in evaluating the progress made and, once again, in making the actors responsible in the fields
By ensuring accountability, national governments must then implement these national biodiversity frameworks through extensive monitoring systems. These monitoring systems must trace the evolution of biodiversity to sectors and administrations, including impacts on production and consumption.
An example to use could be the retrospective evaluation of policies. This could be achieved through impact assessment methods, while policy design and definition can use models of impacts of direct drivers on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
In addition, the United Nations System of Environmental and Economic Accounts can help assess the social costs of activities harmful to biodiversity and establish better policies for these scenarios.
Professor Henrique Pereira, corresponding author and head of the research group at iDiv and Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg added: “There is a mistake that we must not repeat, it is not about defining with precise concrete target results and responsible actors, a new accountability framework is doomed to failure. We need systematic and effective monitoring in real time: it is time to empower the players.
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