Scientists propose a three-step post-2020 framework for global biodiversity goals for governments to implement on a national level
A team of 55 scientists have established a three-part interlinked framework on how to effectively implement international biodiversity goals at the national and sub-national level.
The world is not currently on track to meet the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2050 vision of “living in harmony with nature.”
As international governments have continually failed to reach most of their biodiversity targets, such as, the declining populations of common farmland birds in Europe – which have decreased by 17% since 2000 according to Eurostat – this framework aims to limit the continuous failure to protect biodiversity.
“Biodiversity loss poses a major threat to human health and wellbeing”
Emphasising the need for refinement of these framework steps with each implementation cycle, scientists state that adopting this framework will move national and subnational governments forward in protecting biodiversity globally.
Prof Aletta Bonn, senior author and research group head at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and iDiv said: “We need to act boldly, now, to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.
“Governments need to systematically translate the global biodiversity goals into concrete national action, and ensure responsible accountability across sectors. We urge fast and reliable investments into securing our life-support system – for the future of our children.”
In 2022 government representatives will be meeting at the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP 15, in China, to negotiate new global biodiversity goals for the coming decades within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Step one: Identifying actions and enhancing ownership
Step one entails transforming global targets into national targets and action plans.
This will happen through identifying the sectors accountable for implementation, such as agriculture, infrastructure, trade, finance, and others. This plan is to be co-designed by a wide range of actors from different sectors.
Step one aims to produce a combined ownership of action plans and to overcome gaps in responsibility, outlining where the biodiversity issues stem from and which sectors are to focus solving these issues.
For instance, the farmers’ associations should recognise actions important for agro-biodiversity and pollination services. Additionally, the financial sector should push investment decisions to assist social and environmental change fiscally.
Step two: Implementation and mainstreaming
Step two calls for action across these aforementioned sectors. Requiring a diverse range of effective intervention tools to go past awareness-raising, and implement real change.
A potential challenge here will be the need to redesign existing frameworks in place, such as finance flows and network structures, which currently support actions which are harmful to biodiversity.
Unfortunately this continues to be the case for many subsidies, as seen in agricultural policy, where effective finance mechanisms are needed to boost ecosystem restoration. Current CBD plans aim at placing 20% of degraded ecosystems under restoration by 2030.
Dr Andrea Perino, researcher at iDiv and first author of the publication said: “We need to recover from past biodiversity loss and put ambitious restoration into action to bend the curve, substantial investments by different sectors and comprehensive restoration plans will safeguard ecosystem health and human well-being into the future.”
Step three: Assessment, accountability, and adaptive management
Finally, step three is about assessing the progress made and again, holding actors accountable in areas
Ensuring accountability, national governments must then implement these national biodiversity frameworks through extensive monitoring systems. These monitoring systems are to trace biodiversity change back to sectors and administrations, including production and consumption impacts.
An example to use could be seen with retrospective policy evaluation. This could be carried out through impact evaluation methods, while policy design and policy setting can use models of the impacts of direct drivers on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
As well as this, the UN System of Environmental Economic Accounting can help assess the social costs of biodiversity-damaging activities and establish better policies for these scenarios.
Prof Henrique Pereira, corresponding author and research group head at iDiv and Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg added: “There is one mistake we must not repeat, this is not precisely defining concrete target outcomes and responsible actors, a new framework that does not ensure accountability is doomed to failure. We need systematic and effective real-time monitoring: it is time to hold actors accountable.”
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