An alarming report on the state of biodiversity
After having gathered for one week at the UNESCO in Paris, the group of international experts specialised in biodiversity IPBES has published, on Monday 6 May, its global assessment report on biodiversity.
the IPBES is The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The global assessment report on biodiversity has been prepared by 145 experts from 50 countries over the last three years, with additional contributions made by 310 other experts. It brings together all scientific knowledge on the matter of biodiversity and especially its state of degradation on a global scale. And the findings of scientists are indisputable: "Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating". Around 1 million animal and plant species already face extinction, "many within decades". The experts indicate that the current rate of species disappearance is 100 to 1,000 times greater than the natural rate of extinction. This extinction of species is almost entirely related to human activity. Three-quarters of the terrestrial environment and approximately 66% of the ocean area has thus been "seriously affected by human activity". Likewise, over 85% of wetlands area "has been lost". The continued erosion of biodiversity is, firstly, due to the changes in how land and soil is farmed, notably in connection with the increase in the consumption of animal products.
IPBES recalls the many benefits provided by ecosystem services. More than 75% of global food crop types today rely on pollination. Approximately 4 billion people also rely primarily on natural medicines. And "natural environments, oceans, land, soil and forests absorb 60% of global anthropogenic emissions".
The press release on the IPBES website informs that "it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level, from local to global". The report presents examples of actions to promote sustainable development and the pathways for achieving them in sectors "such as agriculture, forestry, marine systems, freshwater systems, urban areas, energy or finance".
From the time of the publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report of 2005, it has been nearly 15 years since a synthesis of knowledge on the global state of biodiversity has been produced.
Photo: EQUAL team