According to the latest assessment of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), some progress has been made over the past two years towards the reaching 2020 biodiversity targets.
In 2010, the 196 Parties of the UN CBD set 20 biodiversity targets (known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets) to be reached by 2020. Target 11, which addresses protected areas, states that "By 2020 at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascapes".
The 2014 mid-term assessment (Global Biodiversity Outlook 4) showed progress in all elements of Target 11, but reported that the Target would not be met by 2020 unless efforts were increased for all elements other than protected area coverage.
The latest assessment of the status of Target 11, published this summer by the Secretariat of the CBD, shows that progress is being made, especially in marine protected areas.
More than 10 million km2 in large marine protected areas were added between April 2016 and May 2018. While the global terrestrial coverage of protected areas only increased from 14.7% to 14.8%, marine coverage almost doubled over the past 24 months, increasing from 4.12% to 7.26%. The number of terrestrial ecoregions with at least 17% protected areas cover increased from 351 to 357, and marine ecoregions and pelagic provinces with at least 10% marine protected areas cover increased from 84 to 99 and 3 to 4, respectively.
While most countries still need to make an enormous effort to meet their 2020 targets, a few of these targets area are already in sight. Nearly one in three countries can be considered as having already met the target of having 17% of their land protected and well connected, thereby reducing landscape fragmentation and improving resilience to climate change. If all national commitments are implemented as proposed, the world could even surpass the conservation goals of Target 11 by 2020.
This year's UN CBD assessment is partly based on the information generated by JRC's Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA) and prominently features its new indicator on the connectivity of protected areas.
The JRC will further support the EU Biodiversity Strategy during the forthcoming 14th Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 17 - 29 November 2018.
- CBD assessment: UNEP/CBD/COP/22/INF/30: Updated Status of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11
- The Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA)
- The protected area connectivity indicator
- TARGET 11 - Technical Rationale extended
- EU Biodiversity Strategy
- EU Strategy on Green Infrastructure
- EU Action Plan for nature, people and the economy
CBD assessment: UNEP/CBD/COP/22/INF/30: Updated Status of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11
- 16 August 2018