Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework: 3 pitfalls to avoid when setting ecosystem targets

Nations of the world will meet in May to negotiate a new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) under the Convention on Biological Diversity. It’s a big deal because this framework will define global aspirations for protecting species, ensuring benefits from ecosystem services, reducing pressures on nature, and making biodiversity governance more sustainable.

Part of the post-2020 GBF includes explicit targets for what we hope to achieve in the next decade. Devising these targets is an arduous process, where every word is chosen carefully after hours of negotiation. Using the word ‘and’ instead of ‘or’ could cost millions of dollars in government budgets. Even worse, the wrong word could potentially lead to the permanent extinction of species that have been around for millions of years.

It makes sense that at least one of the targets for the post-2020 GBF should focus on ecosystems. After all, no plant or animal can exist in isolation. Now, while I won’t be so brash to propose my own ecosystem targets, I would like to point out three pitfalls that should be avoided once government negotiators come together at the next COP meeting.

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