POTSDAM: Prior to the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Kunming, China next month, experts from the German Leibniz Research Network ‘Biodiversity’ have published 10 “Must Knows” on the preservation of nature as the basis of human life.
"If we continue business as usual, we will undermine the foundations of our life on this planet," said Kirsten Thonicke from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and spokesperson for the Network.
"It is important not to look at individual phenomena such as a single species threatened with extinction but to look at the connections. In the end, it is about the air we breathe and the water we drink."
The COP15 conference aims to adopt an effective post-2020 biodiversity framework and the means to implement it. In order to promote informed policy decisions, the Network has produced 10 scientifically validated assessments that offer specific proposals for solutions to key political problems:
1. Achieving climate and biodiversity protection together
2. Strengthening planetary health
3. Considering hidden biodiversity
4. Promoting biocultural habitats
5. Using forests sustainably
6. Transforming agriculture
7. Protecting land and resources
8. Expanding transnational infrastructures and education for sustainability
9. Ensuring access and open use of research data
10. Setting biodiversity-friendly incentives
The 45 scientists who have authored the report want political and social action because the obstacles to achieving a healthy planet are not science-based but structural, social, cultural and political.
Current global funding for biodiversity protection, both public and private, is estimated at US$143 billion a year. By contrast, this figure is dwarfed by the US$2.6 trillion per annum of private finance and a further US$500 billion from public subsidies that have the opposite intent and cause increasing levels of global destruction.
“The current rate of biodiversity decline is clearly unsustainable, note the report authors. “If environmental consumption continues beyond safe planetary limits, it is only a matter of decades before global GDP per capita falls due to environmental scarcity.”
The scientists are calling on policymakers at Kunming to align economic incentives with biodiversity conservation; remove biodiversity-damaging subsidies and create incentives for investments in biodiversity protection and conservation; and strengthen ecosystem accounting in order to provide critical information for policy and investment decisions.
According to Daniel Müller from the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies, misaligned economic incentives and market failures have contributed to the biodiversity crisis: “Policy measures that redirect market and investment behaviour towards conservation and restoration of biodiversity are therefore critical to solving [it].”
Story Type: News