At their meeting on 15 March the EU environment ministers acknowledged their failure to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2010 as promised. Instead, they postponed the deadline by a further 10 years.
It's almost 10 years ago that the EU agreed that the decline in biodiversity was to be halted by 2010. So what is it that the EU hopes to achieve over the next 10 years they have been unable to do in the previous 10?
The European Red List of threatened species of summer birds, dragonflies, beetles, etc. was updated this month. The update shows that 9 percent of Europe's butterflies are endangered at least within the EU. Meanwhile, 31 percent of Europe's total 435 recorded butterfly species are in decline. In comparison, 14 percent of Europe's dragonfly species, 13 percent of the birds, 15 percent of the mammals, 19 percent of the reptiles and 23 percent of the amphibians are threatened in Europe. In Denmark, 22.8 percent of all plant and animal species are on the Red List. And the EU is not the only ones who did not achieve its objectives.
On 16 March the UN Secretary-General released the report Keeping the Promise. It recognizes that "the goal of reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 has not been reached" and that up to 17,000 known plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction globally. UN General Assembly has otherwise declared 2010 the "International Year of Biodiversity", to coincide with the 2010 biodiversity target under the UN biodiversity Convention.
The Biodiversity Convention was adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 and in 2002 countries under the Convention agreed to achieve a significant reduction in biodiversity loss by 2010. International Year of Biodiversity could hardly have had a worse warm-up than the wrecked climate negotiations at COP15. But it needs political action and responsibility no less.
The threat to the global ecosystem is growing every day. In light of this the EU's suspension of the biodiversity target of an entire decade is hazardous.
This article was written in collaboration with Janne Foghmar of the 92-group.
Sources include: Scientific American / Bugs off: Habitat loss killing Europe's butterflies, beetles and dragonflies, Earth Times / EU postpones by a decade plans to stop extinctions and the UN report Keeping the Promise - A forward-looking review to promote an agreed action agenda to achieve the MDGs by 2015 ADVANCE UNEDITED VERSION.