Warnings on state of life on our planet are loud, clear and alarming

Press release, 23 March 2018
In response to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reports on the state of biodiversity, IIED director Andrew Norton said:

"The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services' revelations about the state of life on our planet are loud, clear and alarming.

"Its warnings of the drastic effects of ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss – in cold hard economic terms demand urgent action. But it is on people's livelihoods where this hits hardest – especially the lives of the poorest in all regions. This warning must not be ignored.

"It is at the local level, often among the poorest, where hope lies, and the IPBES landmark new assessment highlights the crucial value of local and indigenous people's knowledge. The evidence is clear that when people have good information, secure rights and ownership over land and natural resources, and the freedom to organise – good stewardship of biodiversity and ecosystems follows.

"This needs much greater recognition at the highest levels and local organisations must be included in policymaking and its implementation.

"Some progress is also being made through the creation and better management of protected areas and marine reserves. But all of these efforts must to be deepened and spread more effectively to reverse the trend of habitat loss.

"These ways forward are practical and doable – but 'business as usual' will have disastrous impacts on the world's biodiversity. If such action to protect the planet's biodiversity is not taken, we will do more than miss the targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change – we will be shooting ourselves in the foot."

Notes to editors

  • Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) regional assessment reports
     
  • The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is a policy and action research organisation. It promotes sustainable development to improve livelihoods and protect the environments on which these livelihoods are built. IIED specialises in linking local priorities to global challenges. Based in London, UK works in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific, with some of the world’s most vulnerable people to strengthen their voice in the decision-making arenas that affect them – from village councils to international conventions
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