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Stemming the tide of species extinction and habitat loss is one of the greatest challenges facing the global community today. While many important multi-lateral environmental agreements exist, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the only comprehensive global agreement dedicated to the issues surrounding loss of biodiversity.
Missed biodiversity targets will be a major focus of the 10th Convention of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, where the Parties must agree on a new way forward to achieve reductions in biodiversity loss. IFAW supports the adoption of bold, visionary targets for the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, with the overall objective of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2020.
The Convention’s work programs—ranging from mitigating the impacts of climate change on ecosystems to combating deforestation and protecting marine biodiversity—are meant to set the agenda for conservation activities aimed at halting biodiversity loss. The Convention relates directly to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which sought, in MDG 7B, to “reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss.” In May 2010, the third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook, released by the CBD Secretariat, found that this MDG target has not been met, and set forth several indicators of continued decline in biodiversity, including: • Declining species are moving ever closer to extinction, not recovery. Amphibians are most at risk, but many other species are threatened as well, from tigers and elephants to marine mammals and primates. • Biodiversity loss is not limited to species considered “under threat.” The abundance of all vertebrate species fell by nearly a third between 1970 and 2006, and continues to fall globally. • Natural habitats around the world continue to decline in extent and integrity. Extensive fragmentation and degradation of forests, rivers and other ecosystems have resulted in terrible biodiversity losses. • The principal pressures directly driving biodiversity loss – habitat change, over-exploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change – are either constant or increasing in intensity.
African elephants populations declined from almost 1.3 million animals in 1980 to about 480,000 today.
Marine and Coastal Biodiversity – Climate Change (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/3) As highlighted in IFAW’s report On Thin Ice, mitigating the devastating effects of climate change will be one of the most important environmental challenges faced by our generation, and indeed future generations. Of particular importance to IFAW is combating the negative long-term impacts of climate change on animals including the polar bear, predicted to suffer a global population decline of 30% by midcentury due to climactic warming and its consequent negative effects. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) has stressed to Parties, in their draft decision, the importance of marine and coastal biodiversity to the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. IFAW supports the recommendation “to convene an expert workshop on oceans biodiversity and climate change with a view of assessing the potential impacts of climate change on ocean biodiversity and propose options for mitigating such impacts.” Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Ocean Noise (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/3) IFAW will be advocating for a greater focus on ocean noise at the upcoming COP. As highlighted in IFAW’s report Ocean Noise: Turn it Down, a significant emerging threat to great whales and other marine species is ocean noise pollution. IFAW supports the recommendation that available scientific information on anthropogenic underwater noise and its impacts on marine and coastal biodiversity and habitats be given greater consideration in implementing the CBD program of work on marine and coastal biological diversity. IFAW will work with partners to ensure that this language is adopted. Sustainable Use of Biodiversity – Bushmeat (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/3) IFAW believes that utilization of bushmeat must be reduced to subsistence needs, provided that such hunting is conducted on an ecological sustainable basis and that reasonable precautions are taken to minimize the infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering on the animals affected. IFAW also believes that wildlife protection laws must be in place and effectively enforced to ensure that species under threat are neither hunted nor traded. Noting that issues of animal welfare also necessitate the development of alternative food sources, IFAW supports the request for the Executive Secretary to develop alternative options for small-scale food and income alternatives in tropical and subtropical countries in order to reduce the unsustainable use of bushmeat. IFAW also strongly
supports the recommendation in Annex 1 that states “management decisions should be made based on the best available and applicable science and the precautionary approach.” Invasive Alien Species
Updating and revision of the Strategic Plan for the post-2010 period (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/4)
The third meeting of the Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention has made a number of recommendations on strategic goals and 2020 headline targets. IFAW recommends a number of specific revisions to this draft decision, including:
Propsed by CBD
Vision (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/1/ADD.2): A world of ‘living in harmony with nature’ where ‘by 2050, biodiversity [our natural capital] is valued, conserved, restored, and wisely used, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people. Target 3 (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/1/Add.2): By 2020, at the latest, incentives [including subsidies] harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimize or avoid negative impacts [and positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied [consistent with relevant international obligations]], taking into account national socioeconomic conditions. Target 5 (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/1/Add.2): By 2020, the rate of loss and degradation, and fragmentation of natural habitats, [including forests], is [at least halved][brought close to zero] Target 6 (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/1/Add.2): [By 2020, overfishing is ended, destructive fishing practices are eliminated, and all fisheries are managed sustainably.] OR: [By 2020, all exploited fish stocks and other living marine and aquatic resources are harvested sustainably [and restored], and the impact of fisheries on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems are within safe ecological limits.]
Revised Vision: A world of ‘living in harmony with nature’ where ‘by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, and restored, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people. Revised Target 3: By 2020, at the latest, incentives including subsidies harmful to biodiversity [,“negative incentives,”] are eliminated and incentives for the conservation of biodiversity [, “positive incentives,”] are encouraged and applied.
Alien Species that become invasive are a direct driver of global biodiversity loss. Mitigating the effects of invasive species has been estimated to cost the world economy billions of dollars every year. IFAW works to reduce the threat of invasive alien species through trainings for wildlife enforcement agencies on prevention of illegal wildlife trade and will continue to raise awareness and capabilities at and beyond CBD COP10. IFAW supports the recommendation for establishing an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on addressing the risks associated with the introduction of alien species. IFAW will work to ensure that animal welfare considerations are taken into account when making suggestions to address the problems aligned with alien species. In instances where “culling” or “eradication” of wildlife is proposed, alternatives not involving killing of animals by humans are usually preferable on economic, ethical, educational, and other grounds.
Revised Target 5: By 2020, the rate of loss and degradation, and fragmentation, of natural habitats, including forests, is brought close to zero. Revised Target 6: By 2020, at the latest, harvest of flora and fauna, for any purpose, is [ecologically] sustainable, legal, and traceable and causes [no] [negligible] harm to habitats [, and no species of wild flora or fauna is endangered by international trade.][or species threatened with extinction that are or may be affected by international trade.] Rationale: The scope of this target must be expanded beyond fisheries to ensure ecologically sustainable harvest of all species and conservation of habitat. Furthermore, the target must include the requirement that international trade in species of wildlife flora and fauna, most notably those listed on the Appendices of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, does not pose a threat to their survival and recovery. Revised Target 9: By 2020, at the latest, invasive alien species of flora are identified, prioritized, and controlled or eradicated, and invasive alien species of fauna are identified, prioritized and humanely controlled [and managed]. Rationale: While invasive alien animal and plant species are a major threat to biodiversity, IFAW believes that control or eradication of animals should be conducted humanely. IFAW also believes that prevention is the best form of control and that strong border controls should be mandatory. Revised Target 12: By 2020, the extinction and decline of known threatened species has been prevented and improvement in the conservation status for at least 10% of them has been achieved.
Target 9 (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/1/Add.2): By 2020, invasive alien species are identified, prioritized and controlled or eradicated and measures are in place to control pathways for the introduction and establishment of invasive alien species.
Unbridled noise pollution is drowning out the calls of whales and other marine mammals with life-threatening consequences for finding food, mating, nurturing young, navigating, and communicating across vast distances.
Target 12 (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/1/Add.2): By 2020, the extinction and decline of known threatened species has been prevented and improvement in the conservation status [for at least 10% of them] has been achieved.
Parties must also agree to identify measurable sub-targets and milestones to monitor and control progress towards the new objectives in 2020 and adjust annually as necessary to ensure that the agreed objectives are firmly met in 2020 and 2050.
WHO WE ARE for Animal Welfare The International Fund
International Headquarters 290 Summer Street Yarmouth Port, MA 02675 United States Tel: +1 (508) 744 2000 Fax: +1 (508) 744 2099 firstname.lastname@example.org
Founded in 1969, IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare) saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats.
• IFAW works on the ground and in the halls of government to protect wildlife and habitats, prevent human-animal conflict, and fight against poaching, all of which are critical to the survival of elephants, tigers, whales and many other species.
• IFAW is world leader in rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned and injured animals, then releasing them back to the wild, from bear cubs in Russia and raptors in China to elephants, tigers and rhinos in India.
• IFAW promotes responsible whale watching as a viable alternative to whale hunting and has • IFAW’s founding campaign to end the commercial helped make one-fifth of the world’s oceans a seal hunt in Canada has made tremendous sanctuary for whales. IFAW’s Song of theWhale progress in achieving bans on imports of seal research vessel helps provide the scientific products - from the U.S. and Mexico to Europe - knowledge required to help safeguard the marine closing key markets that fuel the largest marine environment. mammal hunt in the world. For more information, visit: www.ifaw.org
Wild tiger populations have plummeted by more than 95% in the past century, from 100,000 in 1900 to as few as 3,000 today.