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Target 11 and its strategic importance

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Target 11 and its strategic importance

Issues beset with biological diversity are essentially ones of the conflicts between the humankind on the one side, and living organisms occurring on land, in freshwater bodies and marine environment on the other. Our world is rich in species, yet so ravaged by human activity that many of them could be gone by the end of this century. A great spasm of species extinction is occurring now at an unprecedented pace, caused this time entirely by humans. Unlike the deterioration of the physical environment, which can be halted and reversed, the loss of biological diversity is a problem far more complex and irreversible.

The world’s more than 200 000 protected areas come in many forms, on land and at sea, and occur in every country. They are places that people establish to conserve natural and cultural heritage and to sustain their benefits for society. While protecting ecosystems that are essential for life, they can support human livelihoods and aspirations and offer nature-based solutions for the complex challenges faced by the world today including the Climate change.

Protected areas are arguably the most widespread societal franchise worldwide. There are three times as many protected areas as there are McDonald’s restaurants and Walmart stores - two icons of the global economy - combined. While hard data are still scant, there is emerging evidence that the global network of protected areas is responsible, directly and indirectly, for the generation of jobs that rival in number those provided by these companies. The economies of many developing countries depend heavily on tourism revenue associated with protected areas, and governments increasingly consider protected areas to be true engines of local development.

Achieving Aichi Target 11 is a critical strategy not only for conserving biodiversity, but for securing ecosystem goods and services, enabling climate change adaptation and mitigation, and helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals