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The Conservation Hierarchy is timely

Global patterns of decline in wildlife and natural resources paint a bleak picture for conservation. The recent assessment by the Inter-governmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) estimates that natural ecosystems have been reduced by about half their area and one million species are at risk of extinction, all as a result of human actions.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a multi-lateral environmental agreement under the United Nations, which creates a global framework for uniting international commitments to nature conservation. It is ratified by 196 countries, and is concerned with the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of its benefits.

Many of its principles have also been embedded throughout the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 14 ‘Life Below Water’ and SDG 15 ‘Life on Land’.

In 2010, the CBD announced a 10-year strategic plan and 20 ambitious Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Countries agreed to translate this overarching international framework into revised and updated national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs).

However, with 2020 just around the corner, it is clear that we will not achieve these global conservation targets. As nature erodes, pressures escalate, and the responses of governments and society remain inadequate, it can be easy to lose hope for conservation.

Transformative change is necessary if biodiversity is to be protected and to thrive, and do so in a way that supports the economies, livelihoods, food security, health and wellbeing of people worldwide. Yet this is increasingly recognised through both grassroots momentum and global policy change