2020 Deadline Missed for Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The 196 member countries of the United Nations have failed in collectively meeting 20 targets set to limit biodiversity loss, according to the latest review.

What are the Aichi Biodiversity Targets?

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) set the targets back in 2010 as member countries gathered in Japan to discuss climate change.  The targets fall under 5 main goals (labelled A-E) aiming to take a holistic approach to stemming biodiversity loss strategically between 2011 and 2020 by addressing the underlying causes, reducing direct pressures, safeguarding ecosystems, enhancing the benefits of biodiversity and increasing implementation of planning, knowledge and capacity.

What is GBO-5?

GBO-5 is a flagship report that provides a periodic global summary of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.  It is based on a range of indicators, research studies and assessments, as well as reports from individual member countries.

What does GBO-5 say?

In summary, the report demonstrates that the world has missed major milestones in capping biodiversity loss by the target year of 2020.  Whilst 6 targets have been partially met, none of the 20 goals have been fully achieved by the initial deadline.  GBO-4 alluded to shortcomings in 2014, yet this warning was not enough to prompt enough action before GBO-5.  You can read the full report here.

Why is this so important?

According to a disturbing 2019 report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, one million species (plant and animal) are now at risk of extinction – 1/9th of all recognised and known species on the planet. The breakdown of so many separate yet intrinsically linked ecosystems through biodiversity loss would be catastrophic, including for the human population.

What next?

The silver lining of Outlook 5 is the report also makes clear that positive change can be achieved when action is taken.  For example, one target was set to protect 17% of Earth’s land area, and 10% of the ocean.  GBO-5 reports that 15% of land is now protected, as well as 7.5% of ocean space. But the report is a stark, urgent reminder that improvements must be to an adequate scale and we simply must do more to join the dots.

There is an agreed shared vision between world governments for 2050 called ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’ and the report calls for ‘transformative change’ to achieve this.  In other words, the focus must be on biodiversity as a global consideration and the centre of decision making.  The CBD published a paper called the ‘Zero Draft‘ in August, which forms the basis of taking biodiversity loss prevention forward beyond the Aichi Targets. The next major meeting, the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP-15), is due to be held in China in May 2021, and will not only review the delivery of the  Aitchi Biodiversity Targets, but will potentially look to reach a final decision on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.


Posted by Claire Edwards 16 September 2020

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