Wildlife is vital to many of the world’s poorest people. Local animals provide meat protein, local trees provide fuel, and both plants and animals provide components of traditional medicines used by most people in the world. The depletion of wildlife is thus intimately linked to the food security and livelihood of inhabitants of ecosystems around the world as many people have few alternative sources of protein and income.
The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including its twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets, has been adopted as a universally agreed global framework to conserve, restore and sustainably use biodiversity and enhance its benefits for people. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of this Plan, which includes in its mission to, “take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity”. Aichi Biodiversity Target 12, for example, aims to prevent the extinction of threatened species by 2020 and improve the conservation status of those species most in decline.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has an important role in addressing wildlife issues – identifying, for instance, unsustainable hunting of bushmeat and its effect on non-target species as a priority for Parties – and is seeking to heighten awareness on the multiple dimensions of sustainable wildlife management, including through the Collaborative Partnership on Wildlife Management.
Wild fauna and flora provide benefit to people on many levels – including economic, medical and scientific, recreational and ecological – and play a crucial role in the ecological and biological processes essential to life itself, supporting healthy, resilient and productive ecosystems.
Implementing nationally and internationally agreed biodiversity strategies and targets and other relevant commitments, for example, are helping countries develop frameworks to effectively manage their natural wildlife resources.
The benefits from natural wildlife resources and the financial assets obtained locally from these need to be better managed, through mechanisms that enable good governance so that the benefits are sustainable and safeguarded for future generations. There is an urgent need to stop wildlife crime, notably the illegal wildlife trade and poaching which have wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
The sheer breadth and scale of the benefits that wildlife provides is a compelling reason for maintaining wildlife populations and habitats in a productive and healthy state. We have a stronger economy, diverse food products and advancements in medical research all as a result of wildlife and natural ecosystems. It is imperative for ourselves and for future generations that we all take an active interest in their preservation.”
The conservation of biodiversity is a common concern of humankind. The Convention on Biological Diversity covers biodiversity at all levels: ecosystems, species and genetic resources. It also covers biotechnology, including through the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. In fact, it covers all possible domains that are directly or indirectly related to biodiversity and its role in development, ranging from science, politics and education to agriculture, business, culture and much more.
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) is based in Montreal, Canada. Its main function is to assist governments in the implementation of the CBD and its programmes of work, to organize meetings, draft documents, and coordinate with other international organizations and collect and spread information. The Executive Secretary is the head of the Secretariat.
The CBD’s governing body is the Conference of the Parties (COP). This ultimate authority of all governments (or Parties) that have ratified the treaty meets every two years to review progress, set priorities and commit to work plans.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has been ratified by 196 nations.
Its overall objective is to encourage actions, which will lead to a sustainable future.
2020 has been referred to as a “Nature Super Year” and must be the year where we turn the tide on deforestation and forestry loss.