Biodiversity Decline: the IPBES Declares a State of General Alert
On the occasion of its seventh plenary session held last week in France, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), “the IPCC of biodiversity”, presented the conclusions of its three-year-long study that aimed at compiling all recent evidence about the state of ecosystems health at the global scale. A group of 145 experts from 50 countries participated to the redaction of the report, which is the first intergovernmental report of this magnitude. It follows the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment that was commissioned in 2000 by the UN Secretariat.
The report issues an alarming verdict that corroborates a series of previous scientific warnings: nature’s decline is “unprecedent[ed]”, species extinction rates are “accelerating”, creating considerable risks on economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide. Among the various symptoms contained in this worrying check-up, one may highlight the following: around one million of animal and plant species are under threat of extinction, many in the coming decades, “more than ever before in human history” states the report. This seems to endorse the idea of a worldwide “biological annihilation”, as raised by a research team from Stanford and Mexico in a notorious 2017 article (PNAS). Almost ten years after the establishment of the Aichi Targets, the failure is manifest: only four of the 20 targets show good progress. The spectre of a Sixth Extinction caused by humankind is clearer and clearer.
However, according to the authors, it is not too late; the trend could be reversed but this would require a “transformative change” of large magnitude, at all levels. The report contains a wide range of illustrative actions towards that and identifies the evolution of global financial and economic systems as key to build a global sustainable economy.
Hadrien Lantremange, Natural Capital Specialist.
Source: IPBES Media Release