The UN has published the fifth report of the overview of the state of nature worldwide. The report shows that many species are still facing unparalleled extinction rates and that none of the international biodiversity targets, the Aichi biodiversity targets, have been met.

In 2010, 20 objectives to safeguard ecosystems and nature were set out by the UN. Most of the so-called Aichi biodiversity targets were to be reached by the end of this year. However, not a single objective has been met. Only six of the 20 goals have been partially achieved.

This is the result of a brand-new report from the UN, published by the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), which also stresses the fact that nature is currently facing an enormous amount of pressure. This also indicates that it will be challenging to reach UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

“Humanity stands at a crossroad with regard to the legacy it leaves behind to future generations,” Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Director of the Convention on Biological Diversity, explained at an online conference.

“(…) The biodiversity of our world would be in worse shape without these efforts, but I need to be brutally honest: In the final reckoning the world has not met the biodiversity targets.”

Small progress – but far from good enough

Every five years, the UN’s ‘Global Biodiversity Outlook’ report provides an overview of the state of biodiversity and ecosystems in the world, as well as recommendations on how to change the dark future prospects.

This year’s report is the fifth edition, and is among other things based on the extensive Global Assessment report from 2019, where UN’s nature panel IPBES revealed and warned about the fact that more than 1 million of the world’s existing animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. This included all orangutan species.

The ‘Global Biodiversity Outlook 5’ report concludes that the objectives to safeguard biodiversity have not been achieved. However, the extinction of living species is moving at a slower rate than before, although many species are still rapidly facing extinction.

The report shows falling rates of deforestation worldwide by about a third over the past 10 years. However, it is far from the Aichi target of lowering the rates of deforestation by half.

“The report paints a dark picture, which needs to be taken very seriously. We know that we are currently overseeing the sixth mass extinction and that exploitation of nature has a large impact. Immense efforts are needed at all levels to turn the development around and the new report unfortunately shows that it is not nearly going fast enough,” says Director of Save the Orangutan, Hanne Gürtler.

Read also: UN: Global wildlife face unparalleled extinction rates

Nature demands new commitments

If we are to mitigate the biodiversity crisis according to the report, it will require immense efforts to preserve and restore nature. Efforts to combat climate change and redesigning the food sector to become more sustainable are also mentioned as important parts of the solution.

At Save the Orangutan, we work to preserve and restore the rainforest in Borneo so that the critically endangered orangutan and other animal and plant species living in the rainforest can survive in the long run. Through our local partners we work closely with local communities in and around the orangutans’ habitat. Involving the indigenous peoples of Borneo has proven to be one of the most effective ways to ensure a sustainable management of the orangutan’s last habitat,” says Hanne Gürtler.

Read more about our work to preserve nature

The UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 was originally scheduled to take place in October 2020. However, due to the corona pandemic the conference was moved to spring 2021. New 10-year objectives for safeguarding biodiversity and nature are to be set based on the Aichi goals. The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report is part of the preparation for these negotiations.