Summary of the main findings on biodiversity of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

1. Biodiversity is being lost at rates unprecedented in human history;

2. Losses of biodiversity and decline of ecosystem services constitute a concern for human well-being, especially for the wellbeing of the poorest;

3. The costs of biodiversity loss borne by society are rarely assessed, but evidence suggests that they are often greater than the benefits gained through ecosystem changes;

4. Drivers of loss of biodiversity and the drivers of change in ecosystem services are either steady, show no evidence of declining over time, or are increasing in intensity;

5. Many successful response options have been used, but further progress in addressing biodiversity loss will require additional actions to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss; and

6. Unprecedented additional efforts will be required to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss at all levels.

The effect of biodiversity decline is much higher for developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, as they lack the right tools and resources to prevent or limit the impact. To strengthen the ties between biodiversity and poverty reduction, in 2006, the 2010 target was included in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As such, 2010 will be the last opportunity to measure the progress made towards the MDGs before their expiry in 2015.

Steps towards biodiversity salvation:

Facilitating the integration of biodiversity into sectoral policy agendas (eg Millennium Developments Goals, national sustainable development agendas, national sectoral policy agendas)

Developing broader stakeholder involvement, by mobilizing new audiences in support of biodiversity conservation, especially local governments (i.e. Global Partnership on Cities and Biodiversity) and business (i.e. Leadership Declaration on Business and Biodiversity)

Facilitating monitoring by addressing agreed sets of indicators related to the targets and promoting outcome-oriented logical frameworks through the development of “proxies” or sub targets (i.e. CBD Strategic Plan, 2010 BIP (Biodiversity Indicator Partnership)

Improving the science – policy interface (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; ongoing discussions on the establishment of an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services - IPBES,

Launching an international study on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity - TEEB).