Countries meeting at the tenth conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are presented with a golden opportunity to give biodiversity a life-line and prevent further critical losses across the world.

Countries meeting at the tenth conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are presented with a golden opportunity to give biodiversity a life-line and prevent further critical losses across the world.

With the 2010 target to prevent biodiversity loss overwhelmingly missed, parties to the UN Convention must use this opportunity to initiate a robust plan of action to enhance biodiversity and prevent further losses.

The intention of the two week COP-10 meeting is to adopt a new Strategic Plan for the period 2011-2020, including a goal to halt biodiversity loss by 2020 and a vision to safeguard and enhance it by 2050.

In a somewhat confusing message, the EU announced last week that they would not commit to providing new funds to prevent further biodiversity losses at the conference yet signalled their intention to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. With only 5 heads of State expected to attend the COP-10, it seems that biodiversity is unfortunately at the lower end of the priority scale for world leaders.

A Commission report published in 2009 showed that several species and habitats are still at risk in Europe, but also showed that the situation for the marine species and habitats is widely unknown - 57% of the marine species assessments and about 40% of the marine habitats assessments were classed as ‘unknown’ by Member States.

In a recent report by the European Environment Agency, it was found that 25% of marine mammals are threatened by extinction, that 46% of assessed European stocks fall outside safe biological limits and that 88% of species are overfished.

The EEA also noted that although the establishment of the Natura 2000 network has progressed well in the terrestrial environment, with nearly 18% of EU land designated, progress remains limited in the marine environment.

Link to COP-10 official site

EEA key findings on biodiversity

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