Wetlands International is relieved that the Contracting Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10) have finally agreed on an ambitious set of target to achieve in 2020 and a set of decisions (see the CBD page with outcomes). Many of those were subject to difficult negotiations between countries, with all very different challenges and ambitions regarding our global nature. For some time, a new 'Copenhagen' failure was feared. For the case of restoring and conserving wetlands, an important step has been made.
Although on some issues our hopes were on higher, more binding decisions and targets; this is definitely a very important step towards concrete actions to address the loss of natural areas, their biodiversity and their values for mankind. Still a lot needs to be done to turn these targets into actions and to make the governments of this world accountable.
Wetlands International was present during the negotiations in Nagoya, Japan. The organisation sees some major elements of its agenda successfully approved.
Protected areas: Ambition to protect in 2020 17% of all inland water and terrestrial areas (currently less than 14%) and 10% of marine areas (currently 6%). This ambition will lead to a better protection of the rapidly shrinking natural areas including inland and marine wetlands of our world.
Habitat loss reduced by at least 50% in 2020. Wetlands International has hoped for a higher ambition to safe the last precious natural areas but is pleased to note that at least this target has been agreed.
Climate change: Ecosystems are conserved for their role for carbon storage and climate resilience. 15% of degraded ecosystems will be restored. The aim to restore of degraded ecosystems like drained peatlands or logged forests is a major challenge; this is an ambitious target.
In addition, a separate decision highlights the need to bring climate measures, such as restoring and conserving forests, in line with biodiversity targets.
Biofuels: a rather weak decision that even question if there is enough proof for the impacts of large scale biofuel production on biodiversity at least calls for proper investigations of both direct and indirect impacts.
Water: Naming water as a particularly important ecosystem service. This is a major step. Finally, a global convention acknowledges the need to save nature for the sake of water. This recognition is a great step towards a set of actions to especially safe wetlands areas that are crucial for storing and purifying the world’s fresh water resources.
Next to the targets for 2020, a seperate decision on inland waters highlights the importance of these areas for preventing extreme water events and calls for proper assessments on the impacts of water infrastructures.
Alex Kaat (just back in Netherlands)
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