The next decade could see devastating consequences to the earth's biodiversity, the United Nations said on Monday

By Dave Quinn
January 14, 2020 01:58 PM

The Earth’s animal population is facing unprecedented extinction rates in the coming decade due to the ongoing biodiversity crisis, which by 2030 could see almost a third of the planet in need of protection.

On Monday, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity released a draft plan of goals being put in place to help the threatened ecosystems.

A similar set of targets had been set in 2010 at a summit in Japan, though the world failed to meet them. Now, as the planet enters the sixth era of mass extinction, the UN says we face severe consequences from human survival moving forward — urging that the need to meet these goals are dire.

“Biodiversity, and the benefits it provides, is fundamental to human well-being and a healthy planet,” reads the draft plan. “Despite ongoing efforts, biodiversity is deteriorating worldwide and this decline is projected to continue or worsen under business-as-usual scenarios.”

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The UN’s ambitious plan lays out 20 targets for the next decade, with “urgent action” required on both the local and global level.

They range from food sustainability to carbon emission reduction to benefit-sharing and clean water restoration. There are also goals to cut pollution from plastic wastes and biocides, promote education of biodiversity, as well as measurable steps laid out to ensure the legal, maintainable trade of all wild species.

If followed, the hope is to stabilized the planet’s fragile biodiversity by 2030. Reducing the threats, while still meeting people’s needs, will allow for a conservation of species and let the ecosystems recover by 2050, the UN says.

“The vision of the framework is a world of living in harmony with nature where by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people,” the draft plan reads.

A final version of the plan will be penned and put into effect at October’s biodiversity summit in Kunming, China.

It will take everyone’s active participation to make sure it works.

“All actors will need to help to raise awareness of the framework and of the need for whole-of-society engagement to implement it,” the draft says. “This includes the need for activities at the local, national, regional and global levels and the need to implement the framework in a way which is supportive of other relevant international processes and strategies.”

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Scientists have long warned that the Earth is currently in the midst of a sixth mass extinction, the first in the planet’s history caused by humans.

Back in 2019, the UN warned that climate change, pollution, and the rising demand on resources due to population growth has led to both shrinking habitats and the exploitation and depletion of natural resources, CNN reported. All in all, a million of the world’s 8 million species facing extinction, the UN said. 

The population boom isn’t expected to slow anytime soon. As the UN warned in their draft plan, by 2030, the world population is expected to increase from 7.6 billion to 8.6 billion. By 2050, that number will be up to 9.8 billion.