Biodiversity loss undermining global development
Monday 21 September 2009
Goals set to alleviate extreme poverty will not be met unless we address the accelerating rate of biodiversity loss, warn leading scientists in a paper published in Science.
Led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the paper brings together scientists from ZSL and other leading biodiversity scientists and policy makers to draw the world’s attention to the fact that our development problems will not be solved if we continue to ignore the environment.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim to halve extreme poverty by 2015. However, these ambitions are now being compromised by our inability to live sustainably.
The authors call for more research into the complex links between biodiversity and poverty, so that informed decisions can be made about environmental services, such as land use, to the benefit of both poverty alleviation and conservation.
“Many of the fundamental causes of poverty and environmental degradation are the same – such as pressures caused by unsustainable human population growth. The conservation and development communities need to focus on solutions that will provide win-win outcomes for all life on this planet,” says Professor Jonathan Baillie, Director of Conservation at ZSL.
“The global issues are now so intense we will only succeed if we have an integrated environment and development agenda – our children’s environment is an essential part of their welfare,” adds Dr Kate Jones, Senior Research Fellow at ZSL.
As the world spectacularly fails to meet the targets set by the Convention on Biological Diversity to reduce biodiversity loss in 2010, the authors highlight the urgent need to set new achievable targets within the remaining MDG period.
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.