Tackling shocking decline in nature needs a ‘safety net’ of multiple goals, say researchers

A ‘safety net’ made up of multiple interlinked goals is needed to tackle nature’s decline. No single goal can capture the broad range of characteristics that need to be sustained, concludes a large international team of researchers analysing the new goals for nature being drafted by the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity.

10/23/2020 | 3:03 PM

Unprecedented fires, rainforests turned into monocultures and overfished oceans add up to a shocking and unsustainable loss of nature that threatens humanity’s expectations for a better future. Despite this threat, the goals countries have set to halt the decline have largely failed. 

A new paper in the journal Science, led by Earth Commission scientists, amongst which Peter Verburg of IVM, outlines how the next generation of biodiversity goals should be designed. To reach the road to recovery, ecosystems, species, genetic diversity and nature’s contributions to people all need distinct goals, and these goals need to be woven together into a safety net and set at a high level of ambition. 

The paper comes at a critical time: The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) recently announced that none of its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets for 2020 has been reached. Policymakers, scientists and country negotiators are now preparing for the next set of biodiversity goals for 2030 and 2050, to be enshrined by their 15th Convention of the Parties in 2021. 

The result is an independent, scientifically grounded, unprecedentedly comprehensive assessment.
“We hope that this paper will contribute to countries adopting ambitious goals and defining a new strategy to better live in harmony with nature” says Professor Peter Verburg of IVM at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, co-author of the paper.

Link to the paper: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6515/411/