Margaret Kinnaird, Leader of WWF’s Global Wildlife Practice, said: "The IPBES Sustainable Use of Wild Species assessment highlights the important, yet fragile, relationship human society has with nature. Overexploitation is identified as the main threat to wild species in our oceans and the second greatest threat on land and freshwater. The report is clear: the pressure we are placing on the natural world is unsustainable and urgent action is needed to change course.
“With 45% of people dependent on the use of wild species, stopping damaging deforestation and overfishing, and taking steps to better regulate the trade in wild species, are all essential to safeguarding the livelihoods and food security of everyone, especially the world’s most vulnerable. Rebalancing our broken relationship with nature is also necessary to help prevent another devastating global pandemic.
“Governments cannot afford to ignore the warning of this robust, scientific report, which makes clear the urgency of agreeing a transformative global biodiversity agreement that drives action for a nature-positive world for the benefit of people and planet.”
Pablo Pacheco, IPBES Lead Author and WWF Global Forest Lead Scientist, said: “Without wild species, our whole planet unravels. Billions of people rely on wild species for food, medicine, energy and clean water. They are especially critical for the livelihoods of vulnerable people in rural areas, who depend on them for subsistence, income and cultural needs. Our modern global economy increases the threats to biodiversity due to pressures from local demand and global trade.
“We live on a planet with limited resources, and we must treat it that way. The good news is that sustainable and equitable use of wild species is possible if we address the biodiversity crisis from both a social and ecological lens. It is critical to recognize the sustainable use practices of Indigenous peoples and local communities and support their tenure and access rights. We must co-create policies with Indigenous peoples and local communities who manage approximately 40% of terrestrial conserved areas and have developed a rich, generational knowledge of these biodiversity-rich landscapes. This should be part of a wider alignment of global processes and national policies and targeted local actions.
“Rapid behavior and economic transformations are necessary across all levels of society if we are to sustain the lifegiving resources that wild species provide us.”
Representatives of almost 140 governments are meeting in Bonn, Germany, this week for the ninth Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES9). The plenary is expected to approve two major new scientific reports: 'Assessment Report on the Sustainable Use of Wild Species' on 8 July and ‘Values of BIodiversity Assessment Report’ on 11 July.
Among other areas, the IPBES assessment highlights the importance of One Health approaches that can limit risk from zoonotic disease and provide positive ecological and social outcomes.Scientific papers co-authored by WWF have also revealed that if governments implemented pandemic prevention efforts based on nature, it would cost society far less than the financial blow that another pandemic would incur.