'More Effort' Needed to Meet Climate Change Target, UN Reports

The Global Diversity Outlook 4 report released Oct. 6 measures progress toward meeting 20 biodiversity goals that were agreed up in 2010, including reducing pressure on ecosystems vulnerable to climate change.

The United Nations reported that the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity began Oct. 6 as the UN released the Global Diversity Outlook 4 report, which examines how much progress has been made toward reaching 20 targets, known as the Aichi Targets because they were agreed upon in 2010 in the Japanese city of Nagoya in Aichi prefecture. The report says much more efficient use of land, water, energy, and materials is needed to meet the targets by 2020.

"Bold and innovative action is urgently required if governments are to meet the globally-agreed Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and its Aichi Targets by 2020," the Montreal-based Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity said in the report. "The challenge of achievement of many of these targets stem from the reality that based on current trends, pressures on biodiversity will continue to increase at least until 2020, and that the status of biodiversity will continue to decline."

UN Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner called for increased financial investment and policy action to protect biodiversity. "Studies show that it will be difficult to reach the full set of the Aichi targets if we remain within the current trajectory, due to accumulated and increased pressures on the natural world," he said, adding that the meeting "provides a critical opportunity to inject renewed impetus into our commitment to the Aichi Targets -- which remain within reach -- and to shape the Sustainable Development Goals by revisiting national strategies and plans."

Steiner is one of about 20,000 representatives from 194 countries attending the conference, which will continue through Oct. 17.

The report says progress has been made toward achieving targets 11 (Protected Areas), 16 (Access and Benefit sharing of Genetic Resources), and 17 (Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan), but “more effort is required” to reach targets 5 (Halving the Rate of Loss of All Natural Habitats including Forests), 8 (Reduction of Pollution), 10 (Reduction of Multiple Pressures on Ecosystems Vulnerable to Climate Change, Ocean Acidification such as Coral Reefs), 12 (Seeking to Prevent Extinction of Known Threatened Species), and 15 (Ecosystem Restoration and Development Resilience).

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