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Transformative solutions to protect the planet’s biodiversity

Transformative solutions to protect the planet’s biodiversity

To meet the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity, researchers have proposed five strategies for protecting the global ecosystem.

1. Prioritize biodiversity work that can strengthen societal transitions.

This means supporting innovations that link people with nature, working across research fields to stimulate the creation of new knowledge and setting priorities for projects to discover what works best.

2. Address climate change across all biodiversity goals.

This means focusing on agriculture to make food production and consumption more sustainable and creating national dietary guidelines that encourage people to eat in an environmentally conscious fashion.

3. Integrate land and sea protection to embrace both ‘protected’ areas and surrounding ‘unprotected’ lands.

This means linking legally protected areas with surrounding lands to build conservation networks that can sustain people and nature in connected landscapes.

4. Incorporate biodiversity into mainstream environmental planning.

This means implementing eco-friendly laws and regulations, sharpening national biodiversity strategies and using these tools to plan new infrastructure projects.

5. Increase funding to pay for all these steps.

This means funding increasing to levels 6–7 times greater than the present, removing negative subsidies detrimental to nature and building public-private partnerships to generate funds.

Response to the pandemic

At the same time, the catastrophic disruption wrought by COVID-19 on the global community invites conservationists and partners to generate new biodiversity strategies for ushering in sustainable outcomes for both people and nature.  In ecological circles, it is widely known that closer contact with wildlife increases the risk for pathogen transmission, a typical by-product of frontier development, particularly at the rural-urban divide. Deforestation generally leads to decreased biodiversity, but species known to host diseases that can spread to humans tend to flourish in the new ‘humanized’ landscapes, acting as potential reservoirs for future outbreaks. The pandemic highlights the deep link between human wellbeing and biodiversity conservation for a healthy planet.

The authors acknowledge difficulties inherent in introducing new policies to the CBD Secretariat, given that it is a UN body relying upon the voluntary compliance of its 196 signatory nations. ‘The CBD must simultaneously grapple with competing interests, unequal power relationships and institutional inertia,’ said Grumbine. These and other blocks have stymied the successful implementation of global biodiversity law for decades.

The authors nonetheless remain optimistic.  ‘Emergent change is usually incremental, but with COVID-19, a real window has opened up,’ said Grumbine. ‘It is now up to us to revitalise the Convention by injecting transformative solutions into the discussion. A retooled CBD has considerable potential to deliver on-the-ground solutions, reframing the conversation and functioning as an institutional role model for collaborative mechanisms of governance.’

Given the unique timing of redrawing the post-2020 biodiversity framework coinciding with a global pandemic, the Kunming meeting in 2021 is of critical significance. Transformative changes will allow us to meet the challenges of the decade ahead. The stakes have never been higher.

Source – World Agro Forestry

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