Biodiversity underpins the fundamental elements for human well-being including food security, human health and access to clean water. In 2010, the Aichi Targets were adopted by world leaders to address the crisis of biodiversity loss. Despite conservation efforts, none of the Aichi Targets have been fully met. However, comprehensive analysis of the reasons for failure in terms of implementation mechanisms is, to date, rare and limited in scope. Here, we demonstrate that most parties did not set effective national targets in accordance with the Aichi Targets, and investments, knowledge and accountability for biodiversity conservation have been inadequate to enable effective implementation. We recommend that the new global targets under the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework should be adopted by parties as the minimum national targets to achieve the 2050 Vision. We propose that financial resources for biodiversity conservation are substantially increased through a variety of sources, including the deployment of new economic instruments such as payments for ecosystem services. In addition, science–policy interfaces at all levels need to be strengthened to integrate scientific, Indigenous and local knowledge to support decision-making. We suggest that a compliance and accountability mechanism, based on monitoring systems, is created to provide transparent and credible review of parties’ implementation of the new global targets.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $9.92 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Butchart, S. H. et al. Global biodiversity: indicators of recent declines. Science 328, 1164–1168 (2010).
Tittensor, D. P. et al. A mid-term analysis of progress toward international biodiversity targets. Science 346, 241–244 (2014).
Johnson, C. N. et al. Biodiversity losses and conservation responses in the Anthropocene. Science 356, 270–275 (2017).
Díaz, S. et al. Pervasive human-driven decline of life on Earth points to the need for transformative change. Science 366, eaax3100 (2019).
The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets UNEP/CBD/COP/DEC/X/2 (CBD, 2010).
Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES, 2019).
Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (CBD, 2020).
Zero Draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework CBD/WG2020/2/3 (CBD, 2020).
Update of the Zero Draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework CBD/POST2020/PREP/2/1 (CBD, 2020).
Butchart, S. H. M., Marco, M. D. & Watson, J. E. M. Formulating smart commitments on biodiversity: lessons from the Aichi Targets. Conserv. Lett. 9, 457–468 (2016).
Whitehorn, P. R. et al. Mainstreaming biodiversity: a review of national strategies. Biol. Conserv. 235, 157–163 (2019).
Bhatt, R. et al. Uneven use of biodiversity indicators in fifth national reports to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Environ. Conserv. 47, 15–21 (2020).
Doherty, T. S. et al. Expanding the role of targets in conservation policy. Trends Ecol. Evol. 33, 809–812 (2018).
Stuart, S. N. & Collen, B. in Biodiversity Monitoring and Conservation: Bridging the Gap Between Global Commitment and Local Action (eds Collen B. et al.) Ch. 18, 421–438 (John Wiley, 2013).
Ulloa, A. M., Jax, K. & Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S. I. Enhancing implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity: a novel peer-review mechanism aims to promote accountability and mutual learning. Biol. Conserv. 217, 371–376 (2018).
Analysis of the Contribution of Targets Established by Parties and Progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets CBD/SBI/3/2/Add.2 (CBD, 2020).
Rice, J. et al. (eds) The IPBES Regional Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the Americas (IPBES, 2018).
Pisupati, B. & Prip, C. Interim Assessment of Revised National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) (UNEP-WCMC, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, 2015).
Prip, C. & Pisupati, B. Assessment of Post-2010 National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (UNEP, 2018).
Kok, M. et al. From Paris to Beijing: Insights Gained from the UNFCCC Paris Agreement for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, 2018).
von Bieberstein, K. R. et al. Improving collaboration in the implementation of global biodiversity conventions. Conserv. Biol. 33, 821–831 (2019).
Comprehensive and Participatory Process for the Preparation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework CBD/COP/DEC/14/34 (CBD, 2018).
Neumann, B. & Unger, S. From voluntary commitments to ocean sustainability. Science 363, 35–36 (2019).
Ostrom, E. Polycentric systems for coping with collective action and global environmental change. Glob. Environ. Chang. 20, 550–557 (2010).
National Laws for Implementing the Convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora, accessed 7 September 2019); https://cites.org/legislation
Degree of Implementation of International Instruments Aiming to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (Global SDG Indicators Database, accessed 7 September 2019); https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/database/
Pattberg, P., Widerberg, O. & Kok, M. T. J. Towards a global biodiversity action agenda. Glob. Policy 10, 385–390 (2019).
Nocito, E. S., Brooks, C. M. & Strong, A. L. Gazing at the crystal ball: predicting the future of marine protected areas through voluntary commitments. Front. Mar. Sci. 6, 835 (2020).
Waldron, A. et al. Targeting global conservation funding to limit immediate biodiversity declines. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 110, 12144–12148 (2013).
Resourcing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets: An Assessment of Benefits, Investments and Resource Needs for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 (CBD, 2014).
Wintle, B. A. et al. Spending to save: what will it cost to halt Australia’s extinction crisis? Conserv. Lett. 12, e12682 (2019).
McCarthy, D. et al. Financial costs of meeting global biodiversity conservation targets: current spending and unmet needs. Science 338, 946–949 (2012).
Hein, L., Miller, D. C. & Groot, R. Payments for ecosystem services and the financing of global biodiversity conservation. Curr. Opin. Env. Sust. 5, 87–93 (2013).
Estimation of Resources Needed for Implementing the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (CBD, 2020).
Biodiversity: Finance and the Economic and Business Case for Action. Report Prepared for the G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting, 5–6 May 2019 (OECD, 2019).
Barbier, E. B., Lozano, R., Rodríguez, C. M. & Troëng, S. Adopt a carbon tax to protect tropical forests. Nature 578, 213–216 (2020).
A Comprehensive Overview of Global Biodiversity Finance (OECD, 2020); https://www.oecd.org/environment/resources/biodiversity/report-a-comprehensive-overview-of-global-biodiversity-finance.pdf
Farooqui, M. F. & Schultz, M. Co-chairs’ Summary of Dialogue Seminar on Scaling up Biodiversity Finance, Quito 6-9 March 2012 (CBD, 2012).
Barbier, E. B., Burgess, J. C. & Dean, T. J. How to pay for saving biodiversity. Science 360, 486–488 (2018).
Dinerstein, E. et al. A global deal for nature: guiding principles, milestones, and targets. Sci. Adv. 5, eaaw2869 (2019).
Karki, M. et al. (eds) The IPBES Regional Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Asia and the Pacific (IPBES, 2018).
Mastrángelo, M. E. et al. Key knowledge gaps to achieve global sustainability goals. Nat. Sustain. 2, 1115–1121 (2019).
Mehring, M., Bernard, B., Hummel, D., Liehr, S. & Lux, A. Halting biodiversity loss: how social–ecological biodiversity research makes a difference. Int. J. Biodivers. Sci. Ecosyst. Serv. Manag. 13, 172–180 (2017).
Local Biodiversity Outlooks: Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Contributions to the Implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 (Forest Peoples Programme, 2016).
Tengö, M., Brondizio, E. S., Elmqvist, T., Malmer, P. & Spierenburg, M. Connecting diverse knowledge systems for enhanced ecosystem governance: the multiple evidence base approach. Ambio 43, 579–591 (2014).
Sutherland, W. J., Gardner, T. A., Hiader, L. J. & Dicks, L. V. How can local and traditional knowledge be effectively incorporated into international assessments? Oryx 48, 1–2 (2014).
Gadamus, L. et al. Building an indigenous evidence-base for tribally-led habitat conservation policies. Mar. Policy 62, 116–124 (2015).
Löfmarck, E. & Lidskog, R. Bumping against the boundary: IPBES and the knowledge divide. Environ. Sci. Policy 69, 22–28 (2017).
Farwig, N. et al. Bridging science and practice in conservation: deficits and challenges from a research perspective. Basic Appl. Ecol. 24, 1–8 (2017).
Beck, S., Esguerra, A. & Goerg, C. The co-production of scale and power: the case of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. J. Environ. Pol. Plan. 19, 534–549 (2014).
Key Finding from the Four IPBES Regional Assessments of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services CBD/COP/14/INF/24 (CBD, 2018).
Navarro, L. M. et al. Monitoring biodiversity change through effective global coordination. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 29, 158–169 (2017).
Mace, G. M. et al. Aiming higher to bend the curve of biodiversity loss. Nat. Sustain. 1, 448–451 (2018).
Rounsevell, M. et al. (eds) The IPBES Regional Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Europe and Central Asia (IPBES, 2018).
Mistry, J. & Berardi, A. Bridging indigenous and scientific knowledge. Science 352, 1274–1275 (2016).
Norström, A. V. et al. Principles for knowledge co-production in sustainability research. Nat. Sustain. 3, 182–190 (2020).
Morgera, E. & Tsioumani, E. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow: looking afresh at the Convention on Biological Diversity. Yearb. Int. Environ. Law 21, 3–40 (2011).
Lemieux, C. J. et al. How the race to achieve Aichi Target 11 could jeopardize the effective conservation of biodiversity in Canada and beyond. Mar. Policy 99, 312–323 (2019).
Rounsevell, M. D. A. et al. A biodiversity target based on species extinctions. Science 368, 1193–1195 (2020).
Han, X. M. et al. Monitoring national conservation progress with indicators derived from global and national datasets. Biol. Conserv. 213, 325–334 (2017).
Geldmann, J., Manica, A., Burgess, N. D., Coad, L. & Balmford, A. A global-level assessment of the effectiveness of protected areas at resisting anthropogenic pressures. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 116, 23209–23215 (2019).
Protected Planet Report 2018 (UNEP-WCMC, IUCN and NGS, 2018).
Kroner, R. E. G. et al. The uncertain future of protected lands and waters. Science 364, 881–886 (2019).
Maxwell, S. L. et al. Area-based conservation in the twenty-first century. Nature 586, 217–227 (2020).
Venter, O. et al. Targeting global protected area expansion for imperiled biodiversity. PLoS Biol. 12, e1001891 (2014).
Runge, C. A. et al. Protected areas and global conservation of migratory birds. Science 350, 1255–1258 (2015).
Klein, C. J. et al. Shortfalls in the global protected area network at representing marine biodiversity. Sci. Rep. 5, 17539 (2015).
Visconti, P. et al. Protected area targets post-2020. Science 364, 239–241 (2019).
O'Leary, B. C. et al. Effective coverage targets for ocean protection. Conserv. Lett. 9, 398–404 (2016).
Lindsey, P. A. et al. More than $1 billion needed annually to secure Africa’s protected areas with lions. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 115, E10788–E10796 (2018).
Geldmann, J. et al. Changes in protected area management effectiveness over time: A global analysis. Biol. Conserv. 1991, 692–699 (2015).
Santini, L., Saura, S. & Rondinini, C. Connectivity of the global network of protected areas. Divers. Distrib. 22, 199–211 (2016).
Stephenson, P. J. et al. Overcoming the challenges to conservation monitoring: integrating data from in-situ reporting and global data sets to measure impact and performance. Biodiversity 16, 68–85 (2015).
Xu, H. G. et al. Optimized monitoring sites for detection of biodiversity trends in China. Biodivers. Conserv. 26, 1959–1971 (2017).
Muller-Karger, F. E. et al. Advancing marine biological observations and data requirements of the complementary Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) and Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) frameworks. Front. Mar. Sci. 5, 211 (2018).
Mairota, P. et al. Using landscape structure to develop quantitative baselines for protected area monitoring. Ecol. Indic. 33, 82–95 (2013).
Schmeller, D. S. et al. Building capacity in biodiversity monitoring at the global scale. Biodivers. Conserv. 26, 2765–2790 (2017).
Failler, P., Touron-Gardic, G. & Traore, M. Is Aichi Target 11 progress correctly measured for developing countries? Trends Ecol. Evol. 34, 875–879 (2019).
This work was supported by the National Major Science and Technology Projects of China (grant no. 2018YFC0507206 and 2018YFC0507202).
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Ecology & Evolution thanks Benis N. Egoh, Martine Maron and Melodie McGeoch for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Xu, H., Cao, Y., Yu, D. et al. Ensuring effective implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity targets. Nat Ecol Evol 5, 411–418 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-01375-y
Nature Ecology & Evolution (2021)