Three ways Cop15 can help save a million species from extinction
By Patrick Greenfield
We have all heard the dramatic warnings: the abundance of life on Earth is rapidly declining and some scientists warn of a sixth mass extinction. But real action is yet to follow from world leaders. How do we halt the decline of nature?
The dismal record on delivery has driven disillusionment with the biodiversity Cop process, which already plays second fiddle to its sister climate convention. To make sure the eventual agreement has teeth – known as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework – negotiators are focusing on implementation alongside ambition this time. A few things are needed to make sure the agreement at Cop15 is implemented, say observers.
First: numerical targets that are quantifiable and measurable. All parts of society must know the exact percentage of land that will be restored or the precise amount of pollution governments will stop. There must be milestones we can all monitor.
Second, we must improve the quality of data we have about our planet. Humanity’s understanding of life on Earth and its ecosystems are still flawed and there are major gaps. Projects like the Land & Carbon Lab at World Resource Institute (WRI) are trying to fill in the details on peatlands and nature-based solutions. Datasets on deforestation have proved invaluable for monitoring the health of key ecosystems like the Amazon and the Congo basin rainforests. But we need more.
Finally, countries must report the biodiversity equivalent of nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which are updates from governments in the UN climate process on how they are meeting their Paris targets. For nature, they are called National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs).
You can read about Canada’s biodiversity targets here.