Biodiversity Policy Updates - June 2022
Fifty years after the Stockholm Declaration, the Stockholm+50 event highlights the need of adopting system-wide change in the way our current economic system works to contribute to a healthy planet. Moreover, 44 % of Earth’s Land Requires Conservation Attention, while an SDG 15 revision brings not-so-bright updates.
Stockholm+50 Urges Action with 10 Recommendations
The two-day event Stockholm+50: A healthy planet for the prosperity of all — our responsibility, our opportunity was held on 2-3 June 2022, in Stockholm, Sweden. It featured a series of interactive dialogues focused on three key themes: achieving a healthy planet and prosperity for all; a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development.
This kind of event is seen by many as an opportunity for an honest, open exchange that does not have to result in a negotiated outcome text. Delegates held in-depth discussions on, among other issues, the triple planetary crisis, intergenerational equity, the need to align multilateralism with scientific findings, and to integrate economic policy within planetary boundaries.
Fifty years since the first Stockholm Declaration, the outcome from Stockholm+50 is a series of recommendations listed here. The focus is on adopting system-wide change in the way our current economic system works to contribute to a healthy planet; strengthening implementations of existing commitments, and aligning public and private financial flows with environmental, climate, and sustainable development commitments, among others.
Other Stockholm+50 outcomes include a Sweden-led Ministerial Statement on Future Generations, a global petition for a UN declaration of rights of Mother Earth, a Youth Task Force declaration, and a Rio Conventions Joint Presidencies Statement.
A New Study Shows that 44 % of Earth’s Land Requires Conservation Attention
A research team from the University of Amsterdam used geospatial algorithms to map the optimal areas for terrestrial conservation and spatially explicit land-use scenarios to quantify how much of it is at risk from human activities by 2030.
The study results indicate that the previous global aim to conserve at least 17 % of terrestrial areas is definitely not enough to reduce the biodiversity crisis and should be enhanced. Instead, 44 % or some 64 million square kilometres require conservation to safeguard biodiversity. According to the author, not only protected areas will help this ambitious goal, but also new policies that limit deforestation or provide sustainable livelihood options and empower Indigenous Peoples to manage their natural environment. They also emphasised that all the identified land should not necessarily be designated as protected areas, but rather managed through a wide range of strategies for species and ecosystem conservation, including other effective area-based conservation measures, and effective sustainable land-use policies when appropriate.
The work has important policy implications since governments are currently negotiating a post-2020 global biodiversity framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity, with new goals and targets for biodiversity which will hopefully come into effect later this year. This will set the conservation agenda for at least the next decade and governments will have to report progress against these targets on a regular basis.
Access the full study here.
Eurostat Reports Negative Developments in SDG 15
A new Eurostat monitoring report on the progress toward the SDGs in the EU has found that over the last five years the EU has made progress towards most SDGs; still, progress on some Goals is still slow or, in some cases, worsening.
Eurostat highlights "a few clearly negative developments" on SDG 15 (Life on Land). According to the report, over the last five years, ecosystems and biodiversity remained under pressure from human activities. While there were slight increases in the EU’s forest area and terrestrial protected areas, pressures on biodiversity from land take, including soil sealing by impervious materials, continued to grow, resulting in habitat loss. Like previous assessments, the report confirms that biodiversity and ecosystem conservation status in the EU is unfavourable, and the EU’s consumption patterns have considerable negative impacts on biodiversity.
However, the assessment indicates significant progress on five SDGs: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16); No Poverty (SDG 1); Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9); Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8); and Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7). It is worth mentioning that the report does not fully reflect the impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Issued on 23 May 2022, the report is the sixth in a series of annual monitoring assessments launched by the EU’s statistics office back in 2017. Based on an indicator set developed to monitor progress towards the SDGs in an EU context, it aims to provide an objective assessment of whether the EU has advanced towards the Goals over the past five- and 15-year periods.