With human consumption of the planet's natural resources galloping away, natural habitats and species are being depleted at a pace faster than implementation of protective measures.
The Global Biodiversity Outlook report released at the Convention of Biological Diversity makes it clear that many of the Aichi Targets -- which include halving habitat loss, reducing pollution and overfishing, and putting a brake on species extinction by 2020 -- would not be met, according to a CBD press release.
Launched on Monday in Pyeongchang in the Republic of Korea, a year before the halfway point of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 shows that there has been significant progress towards meeting some components of the majority of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, but not enough.
"The good news is that Parties are making progress and concrete commitments to implement the Aichi Biodiversity Targets," said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, UN Assistant-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
"However, the report also shows us that efforts need to be significantly scaled-up if the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 is to be implemented and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets achieved."
Nations had agreed on the 2011-2020 Aichi Targets at a meeting in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010. But they have struggled to find common ground on funding, especially for poor nations whose scarce resources are already committed elsewhere.
While the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of threatened species in July said a quarter of mammals, over a tenth of birds, and 41% of amphibians are at risk of extinction, the recent WWF's 2014 Living Planet Report highlights a 52% decline in mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish overall from 1970 to 2010.
Humans are consuming resources at a rate that would require 1.5 Earths to sustain.
Addressing the opening session of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), the executive director of the UN Environment Programme Achim Steiner had earlier said the report made for "very sobering" reading.
Meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets would contribute significantly to a development agenda that includes reducing hunger and poverty, improving human health, and ensuring a sustainable supply of energy, food and clean water.
Under the theme, 'Biodiversity for Sustainable Development,' thousands of representatives of governments, NGOs, indigenous peoples, scientists and the private sector have gathered in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea for the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 12).
The COP 12 will identify ways to mobilise financial and human resources necessary to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
Above all, it will look at ways to incorporate biodiversity into the sustainable development goals.
The COP will consider adopting final targets for resource mobilisation following-up on the preliminary targets agreed at COP 11, including the possible addition of a target related to domestic resource mobilisation.
However, reaching these joint objectives requires changes in society, including much more efficient use of land, water, energy and materials, rethinking consumption habits and, in particular, major transformations of food production systems.
Living Planet Index
This latest edition of the Living Planet Report says that the Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has declined by 52% since 1970.
In other words, the number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe is, on average, about half the size it was 40 years ago.
Biodiversity is declining in both temperate and tropical regions, but the decline is greater in the tropics. The 6,569 populations of 1,606 species in the temperate LPI declined by
36% from 1970 to 2010.
The tropical LPI shows a 56% reduction in 3,811 populations of 1,638 species over the same period. Latin America shows the most dramatic decline – a fall of 83%.
Habitat loss and degradation, and exploitation through hunting and fishing, are the primary causes of decline, notes the report. Climate change is the next most common primary threat, and is likely to put more pressure on populations in the future. We would need the regenerative capacity of 1.5 Earths to provide the ecological services we currently use.
If all people on the planet had the Footprint of the average resident of Qatar, we would need 4.8 planets. If we lived the lifestyle of a typical resident of the US, we would need 3.9
The figure for a typical resident of Slovakia or South Korea would be 2 or 2.5 planets respectively, while a typical resident of South Africa or Argentina would need 1.4 or 1.5 planets respectively.