In DepthConservation Biology

Global efforts to protect biodiversity fall short

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Science  18 Sep 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6510, pp. 1418
DOI: 10.1126/science.369.6510.1418

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Summary

A major report card on the state of biodiversity gives failing grades to the world's nations. The United Nations's Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, released this week, concludes the world has not met ambitious targets set 10 years ago to protect nature. The new assessment finds some bright spots, such as a substantial rise in the extent of protected areas. But only six of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity's 20 targets have been even partially reached and some indicators are headed the wrong way. There is still time to halt—and even reverse—the loss of biodiversity, the report concludes. But that will require rapid and substantial changes in agriculture, industry, and other activities. One such change would be including the value of biodiversity in economic decisions, such as infrastructure investment or farm subsidies. Observers hope the report's sobering conclusions will motivate countries to press for more progress and higher goals when they meet in May 2021 to set new targets for 2030.

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