We are launching an initiative to assess whether or not decision-makers are serious about wanting to halt the biodiversity crisis (S. H. M. Butchart et al. Science 328, 1164–1168; 2010).

It is not clear why efforts to stem the loss of biodiversity have so far been disappointing. Is it because of ineffective communication from scientists? Or is it because governments are unwilling to listen to troublesome scientific recommendations?

To find out, we are collating a list of conservation actions needed in the G20 countries. The actions must be justified by unequivocal peer-reviewed research findings; supported by the community of conservation scientists; help to preserve or restore an endangered species or ecosystem; be politically costly to implement because they are opposed by some interest groups; and be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (see http://go.nature.com/DTkV9T).

With support from UK newspaper The Guardian, we shall approach all G20 governments at the October meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, asking them to implement these tasks and to avoid the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity being a celebration of failure.

If you have published peer-reviewed research that has met opposition in influencing biodiversity policy, please contact us.