Showing posts from April, 2021

The post-2020 GBF, a massive step back in time

Once upon a time, some 30 years ago, life was very easy for conservationists. Instead of having to cope with complicated concepts like biodiversity, which are defined and quantifiable with scientifically agreed indicators, they could simply conserve “nature”. Almost everything that looked more or less green qualified as “nature”: pine plantations, destroyed wetlands (called “polders” in countries like the Netherlands), potato fields with some flowers in them, shrimp ponds ,or city parks. Moreover, all this nature could easily be protected by simply putting a fence around it. The resulting protected areas, the only areas that could be controlled by, often politically insignificant, nature conservation agencies and organizations, formed the cornerstone of nature conservation policies.   Then, in 1992, the Convention on Biodiversity came along, and everything became more complicated. Suddenly it mattered whether “nature” was biodiverse or not, and whether it was actually an ecosystem that

“Nature-based solutions” and the biodiversity and climate crises

“Nature-based solutions” (NbS) is a contested term. Academics write long peer-reviewed articles laying out criteria by which so-called NbS might be evaluated, whilst oil majors create new “nature-based solutions” business units unaligned with the basic elements of the definitional criteria being set out by the academics. At the end of the day, NbS means what the powerful actors using it to green their images want it to mean. The phrase “nature-based solutions” says everything and nothing at the same time. Its proponents argue that such a broadly encompassing term provides opportunities to highlight a whole range of beneficial, biodiversity-protecting practices at the same time, and that packaging all these together in this term might help mobilize protection from a range of drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem loss by calling attention to the myriad ways that societies benefit from “nature.”  But the opportunities provided by the catchall term must be weighed against the risks and dan

Future human population pressure on biodiversity can be reduced and must be taken into account in the post 2020 GBF

The 2019 IPBES   Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services   identifies population growth as one of the key indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, and states,   “changes to the direct drivers of nature deterioration cannot be achieved without transformative change that simultaneously addresses the indirect drivers.’’ [i] While the current draft goals and targets for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework [ii]  do reference the impact of population growth on biodiversity loss in a small number of specific contexts, they do not sufficiently acknowledge the plasticity of future population growth and the policy options that can be utilised to reduce population pressures on biodiversity globally.  Explicit recognition within the Global Biodiversity Framework of future projected population growth as something that is not fixed, but variable and which can be influenced through policy, would help to enable relevant action which could limit population pressure and pro