Wetlands and biodiversity in serious continuing decline

05/05/2010

World leaders are failing to deliver commitments made in 2002 to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, and have instead overseen alarming biodiversity declines. These findings are the result of a new 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (2010 BIP) paper published in leading journal Science and represent the first assessment of how targets made through the 2002 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have not been met.

Compiling over 30 indicators – measures of different aspects of biodiversity, including changes in species’ populations and risk of extinction, habitat extent and community composition – the study found no evidence for a significant reduction in the rate of decline of biodiversity, and that the pressures facing biodiversity continue to increase. The synthesis provides overwhelming evidence that the 2010 target has not been achieved.

“Our data show that 2010 will not be the year that biodiversity loss was halted, but it needs to be the year in which we start taking the issue seriously and substantially increase our efforts to take care of what is left of our planet”, said Dr Stuart Butchart of the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP WCMC), and the paper's lead author.

The indicators included in the study were developed and synthesised by the 2010 BIP. The Partnership, co-ordinated by UNEP-WCMC brings together over 40 organizations working internationally at the forefront of indicator development to provide the best available information on biodiversity trends.

The results from this study feed into the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, the flagship publication of the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be released on 10 May, when government representatives will meet to discuss the 2010 target and how to address the biodiversity crisis, and into the work of Ramsar’s Scientific & Technical Review Panel (STRP) on assessing indicators of the effectiveness of the Convention's implementation.

The Ramsar Secretariat and STRP participate fully in the 2010 BIP work and have contributed indicator assessment information to the Science paper. “It’s especially alarming that this study confirms that wetlands, both coastal and inland, and the many species depending upon them, continue to be in particularly serious decline – threatening their capacity to provide their huge range of benefits to people, and threatening the health and livelihoods of communities dependent on them” said co-author Ramsar’s Deputy Secretary General Prof. Nick Davidson.

Download the official press release

Download the full Science paper and its online supporting information from the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership website: http://www.twentyten.net/2010bippublications.

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