Summary ‘Rethinking Global Biodiversity Strategies’ Exploring structural changes in production and consumption to reduce biodiversity loss
- Improving prospects for future global biodiversity requires rethinking the strategic orientation from common policies and measures towards structural changes in production and consumption of goods and services. Significant and lasting improvements in the downward biodiversity trend will have to come from changes in human activities including agriculture, forestry, fishing, and energy use. Enhanced ‘eco-efficiency’ (that is: producing with lower ecological impact per unit output) could slow down biodiversity loss by reducing the expansion of agricultural land; stemming overexploitation of terrestrial and ocean ecosystems; and limiting climate change.
- An ambitious, comprehensive and cross-sector strategy would cut the rate of biodiversity decline up to 2050 by half, compared to what was projected without any new policies. Measures in the combination explored include an expanded protected area network, more efficient agriculture and forestry, improved forest management, less meat intensive diets and limiting climate change. By design the combination of options contributes to other goals such as mitigating climate change and improving food security.
- Human development increases demand for food, timber and other goods and services with direct consequences for the extent of natural areas. In addition, economic activities put a range of pressures on both natural and cultivated land, including climate change, air pollution, encroachment and disturbance. Most of these pressures are not directly relieved by conservation and protection, but by structural changes in production and consumption.
- More traditional biodiversity policies focus on conservation and protection measures. Expanded and intensified measures continue to be important, for example in protecting ecosystems and selected species, and also in continuing provision and support of valuable ecosystem services. However, these commonly pursued policies have limited effect on ongoing pressures. And, if implemented alone would have negative impacts on other global issues, notably reducing malnutrition and hunger.
- Biodiversity policies and measures should be selected and implemented in accord with human development interests, and prevent negative impacts. Coordination of targets, strategies and instruments across different policy fields is essential to reap co-benefits and to prevent unintended negative side-effects. Bilateral and multi-stakeholder policy processes will be an important prerequisite for successful development and deployment of cross-sector and cross-issue policies and measures.