World is ‘on notice’ as major UN report shows one million species face extinction

UNDP Ecuador Splendid Leaf Frog, Ecuador. (19 January 2015)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


A hard-hitting report into the impact of humans on nature shows that nearly one million species risk becoming extinct within decades, while current efforts to conserve the earth’s resources will likely fail without radical action, UN biodiversity experts said on Monday.

Speaking in Paris at the launch of the Global Assessment study – the first such report since 2005 – UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that its findings put the world “on notice”.

“Following the adoption of this historic report, no one will be able to claim that they did not know,” the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said. “We can no longer continue to destroy the diversity of life. This is our responsibility towards future generations.”

Highlighting the universal importance of biodiversity – the diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems – Ms. Azoulay said that protecting it “is as vital as fighting climate change”.

Presented to more than 130 government delegations for their approval at UNESCO headquarters, the report features the work of 400 experts from at least 50 countries, coordinated by the Bonn-based Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

In addition to providing exhaustive insights on the state of nature, ecosystems and how nature underpins all human activity, the study also discusses progress on key international goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The report also examines five main drivers of “unprecedented” biodiversity and ecosystem change over the past 50 years, identifying them as: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change, pollution, and invasion of alien species.

One in four species at risk of extinction

On at-risk fauna and flora, the study asserts that human activities “threaten more species now than ever before” – a finding based on the fact that around 25 per cent of species in plant and animal groups are vulnerable.

This suggests that around one million species “already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss”.

Without such measures there will be a “further acceleration” in the global rate of species extinction, which is already “at least tens to hundreds of times higher, than it has averaged over the past 10 million years”, the report states.

It notes that despite many local efforts, including by indigenous peoples and local communities, by 2016, 559 of the 6,190 domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture were extinct – around nine per cent of the total – and at least 1,000 more are threatened.

Crop security threatened long-term

In addition, many crop wild relatives that are needed for long-term food security “lack effective protection”, the report insists, while the status of wild relatives of domesticated mammals and birds “is worsening”.

At the same time, reductions in the diversity of cultivated crops, crop wild relatives and domesticated breeds mean that farming will likely be less resilient against future climate change, pests and pathogens.

“While more food, energy and materials than ever before are now being supplied to people in most places, this is increasingly at the expense of nature’s ability to provide such contributions in the future,” the report states, before adding that “the biosphere, upon which humanity as a whole depends…is declining faster than at any time in human history”.

Marine pollution ‘has increased tenfold since 1980’

On the issue of pollution, although global trends are mixed, air, water and soil pollution have continued to increase in some areas, the report insists. “Marine plastic pollution in particular has increased tenfold since 1980, affecting at least 267 species”, it says, including 86 per cent of marine turtles, 44 per cent of seabirds and 43 per cent of marine mammals.

The 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is also the first of its kind to examine and include indigenous and local knowledge, issues and priorities, IPBES said in a statement, noting that its mission is to strengthen policy-making for the sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.

“The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being,” insisted Sir Robert Watson, IPBES Chair. “Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come. Policies, efforts and actions – at every level – will only succeed, however, when based on the best knowledge and evidence.”

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Some endangered languages manage to thrive. Here’s how

Top UN rights official urges transparent probe into Khashoggi disappearance

COVID-19 Therapeutics Strategy: Commission identifies five promising candidate therapeutics

Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Ming At the Reception in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China

Dieselgate: Parliament calls for mandatory retrofits of polluting cars

New UN-supported farming app is cream of crop in tackling Sahel pest

Nine children killed or maimed in Afghanistan every day: UN Children’s Fund

This lethal fungus is threatening to wipe out the world’s bananas

Right2Water initiative: Is the Commission ready to listen to citizens?

Ozone on track to heal completely in our lifetime, UN environment agency declares on World Day.

‘Compelling case’ for urgency around global disarmament, UN-led forum told

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Bicycles for the environment, new leader for the UN General Assembly, UN values, Ebola, Syria and Libya

Here’s what a Korean boy band can teach us about globalization 4.0

Easier Schengen Visas for non-EU holiday makers: A crucial issue for south Eurozone countries

ECB’s billions fortify south Eurozone except Greece; everybody rushes to invest in euro area bonds zeroing their yields

Afghanistan: Civilian casualties caused by IEDs has reached ‘extreme levels’, UN warns

Royal Navy to unveil future surveillance and reconnaissance requirements next February in Rome

How can the EU hit net-zero emissions?

Why cities hold the key to safe, orderly migration

More effort needed to improve equity in education

The experience economy is booming, but it must benefit everyone

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

EP’s MFF negotiators disappointed by failure of EU budget summit

UN’s Bachelet addresses progress and setbacks in human rights worldwide

Palm Oil: With Malaysia cracking down on production, what’s the alternative?

Parliament demands democratic scrutiny over national recovery efforts

UN launches new project to address link between terrorism, arms and crime

Building social good – lessons from an Asian giant

Scientists have a new suggestion to create more climate-friendly cows

Why do medical students need to go abroad to become a doctor in 2017?

Commission tries to solidify the EU statistical system

Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds

A Sting Exclusive: “eHealth can change many dimensions of how the healthcare area functions”, Polish MEP Michal Boni underscores from Brussels

Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May at last week’s EU Council. Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte

EU leaders open “Phase Two” of Brexit talks and warn Theresa May of tougher times

How technology can help unbanked access e-commerce

Cryptocurrency mining could become the new face of energy storage. Here’s how

Strong support for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration into the European Union

International community agrees on a road map for resolving the tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy

We must treat cybersecurity as a public good. Here’s why

Millions of Afghans have ‘voted not just for a president, but also for democracy’, UN Assembly told

Is the EU competent enough to fight human smuggling in 2015?

How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer

Blockchain is becoming key for global trade – but is that a gift for hackers?

Investigate alleged pushbacks of asylum-seekers at the Greek-Turkish border, MEPs demand

5G will redefine entire business models. Here’s how

The last goodbye of JADE’s Executive Board 2019

UN rushes to deliver aid as key Yemeni port city is ‘shelled and bombarded’

Regulate social media platforms to defend democracy, MEPs say

World Population Day: ‘A matter of human rights’ says UN

Brexit ‘no-deal’ preparedness: Final Commission call to all EU citizens and businesses to prepare for the UK’s withdrawal on 31 October 2019

Don’t take African generosity towards refugees for granted, says UN refugee chief

Horn of Africa: UN chief welcomes Djibouti agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia

Digital Single Market: Survey shows Europeans are well aware of rules against unjustified geo-blocking

Human rights breaches in Bangladesh, Cuba and Vietnam

Coronavirus: EU guidance for a safe return to the workplace

Better sanitation for India is in the pipeline

IMF’s Lagarde to Peoples of the world: You have to work more for the banks!

Pakistan: a long road ahead

More Stings?

Comments

  1. With climate change this decline is accelerating.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s