Livelihood Security & Freedom from Poverty

Livelihood Security & Freedom from Poverty

Food Security & Dietary Health

Emerging Infectious Disease

Natural Products & Medicinal Resources

Disaster Prevention, Relief & Recovery

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Chilli peppers drying in Rajasthan, India
Everyone in the world depends on nature and ecosystem services to provide the conditions for a decent, healthy and secure life. Biodiversity provides the foundations for our health and well-being. It provides the essential natural capital for our social and economic development, now and into the future.

Human industrial and technological development over the past 50 years has led to significant and often drastic alterations to the natural world. Although these changes have contributed to substantial net gains in our welfare, security and economic development, the benefits have not been distributed evenly across the globe, and the continuing loss of biodiversity and erosion of ecosystem services is already having negative impacts on the health, well-being and security of millions of people, especially in poor and marginalized populations.

The capacity of ecosystems to provide services in the future is threatened by biodiversity loss and other forms of environmental degradation. The likely increase in the world human population by over 40% (from circa 6.5 billion to 9.4 billion people) before 2050, with a related increase in demand for basic life sustaining resources, will put further massive strains on biodiversity and ecosystem services worldwide.

International commitments towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be severely hampered unless a concerted and effective effort is made towards reaching the strategic goal of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to achieve, by the year 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss worldwide. In other words, a failure to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by the year 2010 may severely affect efforts to address the MDGs by the MDG target year of 2015. Furthermore, beyond 2015, biodiversity loss will continue to undermine the health, security, livelihoods and general well-being of billions of people worldwide. This is not only relevant to the Millennium Development Goal on environmental sustainability . biodiversity loss and ecosystem change affect each of the MDGs, and particularly those goals that relate to human health.

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Grape pickers, Slovenia
Conversely, a failure to address the MDGs, or to put appropriate measures in place towards their implementation, will seriously affect the ability of nations to address the CBD 2010 target. Beyond 2010, a failure to adequately address issues of poverty, debt relief, equitable trade and security, will continue to create conflicts between people and the natural environment, reinforcing unsustainable levels of exploitation where the rates of use of ecosystem services exceed the rates of renewal. This will likely result in further impacts on biodiversity that may, ultimately, create further challenges for human health and welfare, and livelihood sustainability.

Therefore, governments must ensure that the protection of biodiversity plays a central role in national action plans towards the Millennium Development Goals, and that appropriate measures to safeguard biodiversity are copper-fastened into all local, regional, national and international development plans and programmes as a matter of urgency.

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