This is a transcript of the conference together with transcripts of the separate videos from the cochairs.
The way we are doing business today is literally costing us the earth we just cannot keep going like this. One of the ways in which our report I think is unique and it’s important is that we put all the evidence in one place to say to policy makers look we cannot keep going like this the evidence is overwhelming. And what I would say to normal citizens is to say that you have the right for a fabric of life which is healthy and in working order and you have to fight for it
I’m Ingrid Visseren I currently work at George Mason University. In the global assessment I was coordinating lead author of chapter six, was about options for decision makers which could be government’s local communities companies.
We can write scientific reports for centuries but if we if we don’t do something with the outcomes of these reports then what is their use.
So why are we still losing nature at such a horrific pace, when we’ve we have 50 years of experience with international nature conservation policy. Apparently we’re doing something wrong. And it turns out that in the report we show that if we focus on nature conservation purely on nature conservation we’re doing okay but it’s the true societal challenges that we have failed to address successfully. The report is quite frank about the need for change and basically we need to change the the sheer fabric of our societies. So we need to make our economies and our societies more sustainable both in economic social and technological terms and that’s what’s called transformative change. It’s actually getting rid of or addressing the underlying causes of the fact that our societies are environmentally unfriendly.
So that means that our economic structures have to change governments need to reflect on what impacts some subsidies have. We need to make sure that environmentally sound products are actually able to compete with environmentally less sound products, So we need to make it as easy as possible for consumers and citizens to have environmentally sound lives.
The key message of our report is that we have to really go for transformative change on a global scale but also on regional scales. So transformation is the essence. Well business as usual will surely not lead to this complete the let’s say happiness or joy of life in the end – you lose a lot of our biodiversity and I think we may even lose lots of options for the future so our kind of security system for the future is at risk if we follow business as usual.
What the the Global Assessment represents for me and what I find it really cool and unique is that it tells a story. It’s not only assessing different pieces of nature. It’s pouring that into a historical perspective
We look back 50 years we understand the trajectories of development. We understand the displacement of economic growth in different parts of the world. We look back during the past decades, we understand what we’ve been doing what will have been the advances and the setbacks that we have and we look forward in a reflexive way if we continue to do business as usual we know the consequence.
But it also shows that there are options we can take to shift.
I think one of the most important things that we could do, and I hope will be the impact of the global assessment, is to reverse the perverse narrative that environmental degradation, social inequality are in a inevitable outcomes of economic growth. We need to change that narrative we need to make economic growth as a means not an end. Quality of life is the end we all want.
There is hope We need to build on the efforts that are there we need to build on the knowledge that we have to be able to revert those changes. People need to feel empowered. Policymakers need to view empower everyone contributes it. We have the tools to implement policy to make a difference on people’s lives and a difference on the global environment
Hello, my name is Almut Arneth. I am professor at Kayati in Germany, and my role in this assessment was co-ordinating lead author in the chapter about future scenarios. So with scenarios what we are trying to do, we are exploring how the world could look like in 2050 or even in 2100. Fortunately the scenarios where we try to drive a more sustainable future, more equitable distribution of resources, is a much better outcome in terms of both still providing food, to feed and fibre to everyone on this planet, but at the same time decoupling that increasing provision of ecosystem services from the destruction of nature. We can do it if we choose to operate along those more sustainable distributions of resources.
My name is Kate Brahmin I work at the Institute on the environment at the University of Minnesota. I was a coordinating lead author with chapter 2 in the section that’s focused on nature’s contributions to people. One of the things that I think is most important that we have shown in this assessment is that there’s so much connection between what happens on land and what happens in the water. We are appropriately concerned about fresh waters and about dams and about free-flowing rivers but we also really need to pay attention to what’s happening on the landscape and what are we doing on the landscape that may have negative consequences for the water. We think that there’s lots of potential for synergies so putting into practice different kinds of things like agricultural practices that can both cause productivity on the landscape, but also help with things like water quality and filtering water.
We know that there are many businesses who benefit from the contributions of nature of all kinds so certainly all of the businesses that work in food or timber or with material goods but in fact all the businesses that depend on freshwater resources on soils on pollination. Even on things like the production of medicines about 70% of cancer medicines actually either come from nature or are inspired by natural products. So much that we can do as individuals and no one thing will solve everything but by changing our habits everything from our eating habits and our consumption to the way that we interact with our own governments. That we as individuals need to recognize how important nature is and we need to make sure that those who represent us recognize that also.
My name is Stuart Butchart . I’m chief scientist at birdlife international and I was one of the coordinating lead authors for chapter three in the global assessment and that’s the chapter that focuses on progress to societal goals and objectives.
So we compiled information from a range of indicators addressing different aspects of the loss of nature, the drivers behind that and the responses that are being put in place, and carried out systematic literature reviews to synthesize a massive information. So the assessment found that nature is declining at unprecedented rates in human history. We are losing biodiversity faster than ever before in humanity’s history, and that’s catastrophic for the species and ecosystems affected, but it’s also really bad news for people human society depends upon healthy ecosystems we need them for our survival.
The good news is that it’s not too late to implement responses that are required but it’s going to take transformative change. In terms of the goals that have been set through the Convention on Biological Diversity the so called Aiki biodiversity targets we’re not on track to meet the vast majority of those. For the majority there’s been insufficient progress or even movement away from those goals. We need to see transformative change that’s fundamental system-wide reorganization across political technological and economic factors. It’s things like reforming perverse incentives so subsidies for agriculture or fisheries that make no economic or environmental sense.
My name is Kai Chan and I’m a professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada and I was one of the coordinating lead authors for Chapter five of the global assessment which is the chapter that examines the pathways towards sustainability.
One of the clearest points that came out of the scenarios and pathways analysis was that in order for us to achieve the kind of change that’s necessary for biodiversity and for nature, that it’s going to take examining the societies institutions at am in a much more careful way.
That we can’t any longer just think about okay well this is how we have to do forestry differently or this is how we have to do fisheries differently without recognizing that all of those major sectors that impact biodiversity directly are driven by all kinds of different aspects of society’s institutions and fundamentally derived from human demand for products and services.
Businesses have a tremendous amount of power both over governments and then more importantly over over supply chains right, and supply chains the way that you know products are produced from extracted natural resources and then distributed and ultimately making their way to consumers, that’s the way that most environmental impacts happen.It’s not because I go out there and I cut down a forest is because I buy something that requires that a forest is cut down. And so because businesses really do have control over supply chains and in many cases those supply chains transcend national boundaries what that means that the businesses have a fundamentally crucial role to play in the sustainability transformation.
It becomes clear that a change is possible in supply chains and the processes of extraction or production. Then it’s really incumbent upon policy makers to make sure that the standards are set at a relatively high bar. One that’s achievable and one that prevents what we think of as bad actors or bad apples from spoiling the bunch right. Some of the industry has already kept up and then it’s up to the governments to make it fair so that some businesses can’t thrive by undercutting the environment and what it does for people
I’m Guy Midgley. I’m from Stellenbosch University in South Africa and I served on chapter four which was a chapter that looked at scenarios of biodiversity. Biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate. Climate change is one of the drivers driving that change. Climate controls the ranges of species and so a changing climate can cause species to change their Geographic ranges as we’ve seen in many parts of the world on the land surface and in the ocean. With respect to climate change we know what we have to do is reduce our global emissions/ At the same time we have to increase the capacity of the Earth’s surface to absorb carbon dioxide and give us a better chance to get emissions under control and to get the atmospheric CO2 concentration under control. that involves the good management of ecosystems.. we know that ecosystems are currently absorbing about 25 percent of our emissions land systems. another 25 percent of our emissions are going into the oceans which is causing ocean acidification. Together that’s half our emissions are not ending up in the atmosphere because of the the health of our ecosystems/ And so managing our ecosystems is going to be crucial in avoiding the worst effects of climate change. The most important thing we have to do is get our fossil fuel emissions under control and engage in the kind of transformative change that this report speaks about which is transformative changes to our energy system mostly
My name is Rebecca Shaw. I’m the chief scientist of WWF. my expectation for the global assessment report is that it will for the for the second time clearly delineate the importance of nature to people and our thriving in humanity, So the first time was the main ecosystem assessment this is the second big assessment now 14 years later that really lays out at a global scale why it’s important for us to stop the loss and degradation of nature and why it’s important for our health and for our economies.
I think the the important thing about the report is that it is very broad based in how it conveys the information so that policymakers will be able to instantly see what they will be able to do with the report in protecting nature, which means providing incentives to ensure that nature is protected and nature’s services or the benefits that people derive from nature are protected, and that will be individual what each government does because they will be doing it for their specific populations and that and for their citizens, but it will be very important that there is a systematic review in each country for how you protect your water supply, how you ensure clean air how you in ensure an abundant food supply and productivity in the continued economic development
I’m Paul Leadley I’m a professor at the University of Paris Soud and I’m one of the authors on this global assessment report there are big differences between the social and economic development pathways in terms of their impacts on biodiversity ecosystem function.
Those scenarios where there’s a lot of emphasis put on sustainability so sustainable production sustainable consumption are much better than those scenarios for example we compare them to scenarios of the planet where there’s an emphasis on rapid economic growth and very little governmental control of environmental impacts.
Clearly the message that comes from that is that if one follows these pure economic growth pathways with no attention to the environment, that they’re gonna seriously degrade the environment, and they’re not just degrading biodiversity we’re also losing valuable ecosystem services. So maybe they’re getting a lot of economic gain out of it but they’re destroying the very basis of what sustains life on planet. What these sustainability scenarios mean is that we cannot do business as usual there must be fairly radical transformation of a way that we produce and consume goods
IPBES7 Media Launch Global Assessment Webcast
Excellencies members of the media ladies and gentlemen good afternoon my name is Rob Spaul I am the head of communications for the intergovernmental platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services also known as IPBES a very warm welcome to this highly anticipated media launch of the IPBES global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services
I would like to start today by introducing our speakers who are at the podium today starting with our very gracious host the director-general of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay we’re also joined by the executive secretary of IPBES Dr Anne Larigaudrie.
and finally I would now like to invite the director-general of UNESCO to take the floor to make some opening remarks Madame director-general.
Thank you very much I would like first to welcome you at UNESCO and I think for the sake of language diversity I’ll speak French
After the historic adoption of the first intergovernmental report on biodiversity at UNESCO which is the product of years of research and international cooperation and adopted by 132 countries with the support of the United Nations, nothing will ever be the same and no one can say that they didn’t know that we are threatening our global environmental heritage, a common heritage built over the long history of the living on the planet.
The work of scientists from all over the world documents these comprehensive and shared findings.
With 1 million species threatened with extinction with human activities that have profoundly altered most of the natural environments on the planet thanks to them and thanks to you we now have the foundations for serious work, and avenues for solutions adopted along side with governments which makes it possible for us to act.
Well we say with the report is protecting biodiversity means protecting mankind because we human beings depend fundamentally on the diversity of the living. We are part of a system that’s based on the interactions whose benefits we don’t always properly assess be the material or intangible.
Well the report says is that the destruction of biodiversity threatens the vital contributions brought by nature to mankind threaten our means of subsistence, a heritage and I think it’s important for us to say that here it’s a heritage which is cultural, tangible and intangible, food security the world economy and the polity of life were also threatened.
Biodiversity also disproportionately affects the most vulnerable populations. For all these reasons this erosion of biodiversity threatens our world environmental heritage, and it’s also a threat to therefore to peace and to security. Therefore we must act visa vie the future generations that we don’t have the right to continue to deprived of their fundamental heritage .
This basic issue of the erosion of biodiversity also reminds us and it’s important to make this point here in this United Nations Organization the importance of cooperation and of solidarity as well as of multilateralism. This calls for responses at all levels but also at the multilateral level for international cooperation and in response to this work of international experts.
2020 may prove to be a strategic year as early as 2019 in fact when the G7 which is being held in France now in 2020 there will be the congress of our central partner on the protection of natural heritage that is the IUCN the international union for the conservation of nature, now so in 2020 with a cop15 on biodiversity which will be held in China.
The importance of multilateralism can be seen with the support brought to EPBIS soon from its founding by the UN through UNESCO but also the FAO the UNDP and even DP.
We in UNESCO particularly keen and assisting be best in is a fantastic work it’s carrying out as a scientific organization of the UN but also because we are the house of biodiversity in the broad sense of the term.
We do this through promoting scientific cooperation at an international scale and in particular our work on fresh waters on research and oceanography but also through their promotion of indigenous knowledge, which was fully reflected in the report.
We also do this by encouraging member states to introduce more education for sustainable development into their educational systems.
We also provide to member states which would like to commit themselves further, means of conservation of nature through natural world heritage sites and biosphere reserves of UNESCO. Biosphere reserves which reconcile the conservation of biodiversity and it’s sustainable use by the people who live for their. This unesco label protects throughout the world a land area that’s equivalent to the size of china but it could be further extended if the states make the commitment to restore rights to nature and we need to modify human behavior for sustainable solutions which can slow down or even offset the loss of biodiversity which is well documented.
To conclude I would like to thank you for coming. I would like to underscore the substantial work performed by IPBES and by the network of scientists that they represent I think it’s a fundamental issue for peace and security and it’s also a major issue for the United Nations. It’s also a moral and ethical issue for all of us with respect to a posterity thank you.
Thank you very much madam director-general for those important words from our hosts at UNESCO I’d now like to invite the executive secretary of IPBES Dr. Ann Larigaudrie to make some remarks and the floor is yours.
Thank you and good afternoon to all of you. It’s a real pleasure to present to the world today the first-ever intergovernmental report of the state of knowledge related to biodiversity and ecosystem services. It is a report that has been produced by us-IPBES, the intergovernmental science policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services and we follow the noble path of the IPCC which has shown the way on how science can inform policymaking regarding climate change.
So this report is the result of about 45 hours of intense negotiation here at UNESCO this week, a dialogue between our scientists and policy makers and it is a summary for policy makers, which is now owned by government as a result of this dialogue with the scientists, and they finally came to an agreement at 3:00 in the morning this past Saturday. It’s a report that has taken about three years to produced hundreds of scientists some of them are with us today together they’ve analyzed more than 15,000 scientific publications, a large body of knowledge on biodiversity on ecosystem services, and they have also included and for the first time indigenous and local knowledge which is also an innovative path that IBES is also trying to follow and to open new ways.
So this is of course all done thanks to what I call the real measures of eBay’s and those are our scientists who commit their time for free for for all of these years and we’ve calculated that together the amount of their time is equivalent to the amount of dollars that governments have given to us which is more than 40 million since we started about 5 years ago. So quite a considerable gift from the scientific community to IPES.
Yesterday the former chair of IPES I have to learn how to say this Bob Watson and I attended the G7 environment of ministers of the Environment hosted by friends not too far from here in the East part of the country and for the first time a focus was placed on biodiversity, and biodiversity will be part of the final statements with also commitments to be approved by the presidents when they meet at the G7 of presidents later this summer.
So this afternoon we are invited by the President of the Republic of France mr. Marco to present the outcome of the summary for policy makers of these assessments, and as you have seen the conclusions of the report are really very alarming and our co-chairs are going to present all of the facts that this report has highlighted. But really what we would like at the end of this report is to really give the world a real message of hope.
We don’t want that people feel discouraged that there is nothing that can be done that we’ve lost the battle because we have not lost the battle, and if given a chance nature will reconquer its rights and will prevail and so we really want everyone to feel that they can contribute, that they are part of the solution and this is very much the main message that this report is bringing to the world.
So our goal all of us is to really elevate now the topic of by diversity to really bring it at the same level as climate on the top of the agenda of policy makers. We’ve now firmly established that there is a scientific evidence for the degradation of our nature, of the living world of species of plants and animals, and yesterday the minister said now with this scientific evidence we can no longer say that we did not know.
So we now really hand over to the world to all of the citizens to governments to our colleagues at the Convention on Biological Diversity who are going to have this major summit at COP15 in China next year.
but really what we want to say is that we are really all together in this this is about the way we treat our world our nature about our future on this planet. and so armed now with this new scientific evidence what we really want to do is to make biodiversity great again thank you [Applause]
Thank you very much Anne I’m told by our technical staff that we are currently joined by more than 550 viewers on the English version of the YouTube connection, and more than 120 on the French connections so to everybody who’s just joining us who have joined late, welcome you’ve joined with enough time to still hear the findings of the report, and on that note I would like to please ask the three co-chairs of the IPBES global assessment report to share with us some of the high-level findings and some of the policy options of the report and I’m going to hand the floor to our three co-chairs who will I believe split their time between all three of them please
Okay thank you very much welcome everybody it’s a pleasure to be here thanks to everybody on the podium the friends on the podium I would say our authors who are sitting there very important that’s the basis of the entire assessment.
So we have the pleasure to present the result of the work of the last three years the kind of a natural approach and the kind of very let’s say fundamental very scientific approach we try to be integrative as much as possible and it’s divestment? a lot of people where I can bring some data as well so let’s see how this works so next slide.
So actually we’ve been tasked with certain questions from the very beginning which was so-called scoping document which was provided to us by the IPBES partners the government’s at that time 120 at that time 125 now 132 partner governments which are within IPBES and they gave us a task to do this assessment and they have posed us to let’s say five main questions
- What is the status and the trend in nature and indirect and direct drivers of nature, of the change
- How does nature contribute to the achievement of global goals? There are different sets of goals there,
- What are plausible futures for nature and for a good quality of life between now and 2050
- What pathways and policy intervention scenarios can lead to sustainable futures
- And last but not least what are the opportunities and challenge as well as options available to these decision-makers relating to nature as contributions to good quality of life
So this is the kind of set of questions we had. We arranged the entire assessment along these questions and now I’m trying to start with the main results well firstly the author team already mentioned by Anna
already before it’s a lot of people hundred forty five experts three coaches or the three of us sitting here 24 coordinating leader authors and many others involved there a total of 350 contributing authors who have been taking part of the of the entire element so it’s a modern 400 500 people involved in the whole process from 551 countries and you can see the balances we had a certain dominance in Natural Sciences but quite a lot of social sciences and those people who are quoteinterdisciplinary experts.
The trend of spread was bit uneven but we are moving towards a more even one in in the process of repair so we started this with a very bad one but it’s improving and improving so we’re getting there that is kind of male/female representation and nicely there
So, the finding, life on Earth is deteriorating fast worldwide and virtually all indicators of the global state of nature are decreasing, It’s about biomes is about ecosystems is about species varieties and breeds so the latter one it’s varieties and breeds mainly in the context of agriculture a quite important component. Many data are very well known
We have the declines all across the animals and plants and it’s just to illustrate the graph on the left-hand side you see and the red part the degree of endangerment in different groups of species and on the right part you see the greenish ones each are more let’s say in better shape. It’s very different across different groups just to give a general impression on this. But everywhere across all groups of species we have problems with their survival. Extinction rates is one important component more species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction now than at any other time in human history
So it’s the human history the main component goes back as long as humans are there and modifying the earth and we are accelerating.
Important component on the graph on the bottom is the natural extinction rate is a very tiny grayish finger shows the extinction rate is always there but it’s very low so we have really contributed to increase this rate to a tremendous amount within the last decades. So this is the kind of very alarming component
The underpinning the proximate causes of deterioration in nature are the root causes. So, this is the kind of the indirect drivers which are the main background drivers which cause all the rest.
So the indirect drivers which are demographic things which are economic and technological backgrounds and situations governance also conflicts epidemics can be mentioned there. All also led by social values which leads to the direct drivers which we have analyzed in a very rigorous analysis throughout the assessment
We can really say which are the most important ones which are less so and all of the different systems to wrestle freshwater in marine are driven by land use and sea use change as the main driver followed by exploitation and then climate change at the present time, and then it’s the other one is pollution and invasive species and then some others. But it’s based on a very rigorous very profound meta-analysis done by lots of our colleagues throughout this process for the last three years
This general deterioration of nature has important consequences for human quality of life. Our report contains I will report contains a comprehensive analysis of the status and trends of 18 general categories of nature’s contributions to people.
Globally since the seventies more food energy and raw materials have been produced than ever before but this has come at the price.
Out of 18 categories of nature’s contributions to people assessed 14 have declined. This means that this increases in production and the associated waste is undermining nature’s capacity to regulate processes and regenerate itself. It’s also undermining non material contributions to people and it’s also compromising nature’s ability to provide all contributions including material ones in the future.
All these trends have direct consequences for the achievement of internationally agreed biodiversity and development targets,
In the case of the Aichi biodiversity targets most of them will not be achieved.
Partial progress has been observed in a minority of them 4 out of 20 but none of these directly tackles the root causes of nature’s decline.
The picture is similar regarding the sustainable development goals
With 35 out to 44 targets as assessed showing negative or insufficient progress in summary there has been some progress but not enough to stem the direct drivers and especially the indirect drivers or root causes of nature’s decline.
In terms of projections further into the future we explored three families of plausible scenarios and they projected consequences for biodiversity and also for nature’s material and regulating contributions to people by 2050.
In all scenarios climate change becomes increasingly important compounding the effect of the other drivers.
In all the scenarios there are trade-offs between increases in material benefits on the one hand and declines in biodiversity and regulating benefits on the other.
There are very different trends for different regions
This is particularly so in scenarios of regional competition whereas global sustainability scenarios do much better.
In contrast as my colleague will explain next plausible scenarios that include transformative change especially in the production and consumption of energy and food long to moderate population growth a nature friendly and socially fair climate adaptation and mitigation are compatible with a 2030 sustainability objectives and the 2050 vision for biodiversity.
So the battle is not lost yet
Before we go to the best way scenarios to address those problems one important part of this assessment has been the systematic inclusion at a global level of the contributions of indigenous people in local communities. And also how those changes are affecting those communities on the ground and what policy options may be available for a better future.
You understand why it’s important to include indigenous people in local communities because of the scale of importance at the global level. It’s the first time that we have synthesized enough information to have a global picture of such important contributions.
At least a quarter of the global land is owned managed traditionally occupied by indigenous peoples. That’s where you have some of the highest conserved ecosystems. Thirty-five percent of the global protected areas overlap with areas of indigenous peoples that shows their importance in safeguarding a lot of the biodiversity that we all benefit from. Including a significant share of the global agro biodiversity of plants and animals in areas where you find the wild relatives of word crops.
In analysis nature is the terior rating less rapidly within those areas but nonetheless suffering the same consequence.
We did the most comprehensive analysis of local indicators which is a compilation of over 450 indicators used around the world by local communities 72% of those indicators show signs of decline and other drivers are increasingly pressured those areas through land-use change extractive industries infrastructure expansion and other factors.
So indigenous people in local communities along with other sectors of society play a critical role.
What my colleagues have shown is that we have reconfigure dramatically the fabric of life of the planet and the three key words here is that along with this deterioration it’s more interconnected in having cascading impacts but distributed unequally.
What are some of the key components analyzed and this is a very short summary as you imagine we’re providing a high level set of message for you.
The report is very detail on those particular options and possible pathways to achieve the sustainable development goals.
If we want to meet the bio diverse conservation goals better than we did during the last decade, if we want to meet the sustainable development goals which Sandra just showed 80% of the sustainable development goals are compromised because of deterioration of nature and these cascading impacts on goals that are of social like over social dimensions the first important message is that we cannot tackle nature deterioration in isolation from climate change and from our social goals they are interconnected and it’s time to move to think about that complexity and including that complex in our thinking and policy.
They need to be look at synergistically and the options that we present provide opportunites for us to bring different sectors that try to address our demands for food for water for energy and health. Our quest for human wellbeing for all our need to address mitigation and adaptation to climate change and conserving nature. We need to start to think in an integrated way and apply our policies as such.
Importantly we have done a lot already.
There are enough instruments international agreements local policies local efforts that if more more bodily deployed and other bold change decisions are made those pathways to achieve the sustainable development goals are possible. The knowledge is there we need to move to more bold implementation. That means addressing not only the direct causes of change which we can address with policies applied at the local national and regional levels on many of those sectors, but most importantly confronts the root causes of change. When we look back during the last 10 years we have a defense that significantly in confronting the direct drivers. When you look for instance at the expansion of protected areas in land and sea has been an effective way of confronting the fast transformation of land-use and other forms of exploitations. But that goes so far as those success stories become overwhelmed by the deterioration that happen around them. So we need to address the root causes with profound changes in aligning our governance systems incorporating responsibly in our economic system in a way that accounts for the whole chain from production to consumption. We need to address equity issues and consider solutions in the context of inequities that are out there.
We need cross-sectoral planning and we have the knowledge to implement cross-sectoral planning we need positive incentives to move away from the harmful subsidies that many times are paying for the destruction that we were observing.
And we need to change our narratives both are individual narratives that associate wasteful consumption with quality of life and with status, and the narratives of the economic systems that is still considered that environmental degradation and social inequality are inevitable outcomes of economic growth. We need to change that narrative economic growth is a means, not an end we need to look for the quality of life of the planet in consider the inequalities that we have in front of us.
There are many practical cross sector solutions that I’m showing you. I sec only a subset of them there are dresses the needs that are that people claim for at their law at the local level where we can find ways of planning food production and conservation together complementary and interdependently.
We need to move away from as I just said from the narratives that put them in contrast to each other.
There are many ways that we can move to our sustainable fisheries and we have done a lot already in implementing certification and more responsibility around the fishing sector as in other sectors but we can implement in more bold ways integrated management on lands freshwater in oceans. They are interdependent. We have heard many times during the past year the scale of plastic pollution the scale of other sorts of pollution coming from lands far away to the oceans and our coastal zones.
We need to implement climate change mitigation but carefully. There are trade-offs if we implement climate change mitigation at a large scale just focusing on carbon. We need to think in context the specific ways and we need to implement those that I scale that are compatible with the social and environmental context of different places.
There are multiple solutions that are nature based solutions for cities. We need to remember that during the past decades the largest rate of urban growth has been in urban south.
The largest portion of that growth has been among the poor that are living cities without infrastructure without sanitation in stress and environment where climate change issues become compounded in affecting increasingly a large sector of the urban population.
The next 10 years the largest share of urban growth will take place in parts of Latin America particularly in Africa and parts of Asia. If the way we have done now will be with the same patter that has taken place in the past 20 years, where significant sector of society is in conditions as as described without access to public service in a stressed environment exposure to pollution and ever more vulnerable to climate change.
As I said in show the importance of Indians in local populations globally we need to recognize the knowledge innovations practice institutions and values of indigenous people in local communities. They are equal partner in this journey. We need their inclusion and participation in environmental governance and we have many examples where this has happened with significant positive impact both for their quality of life and the quality of life of the society at large.
A key constituent in a hard one because of the amount of vested interest that we have is to evolve our global financial and economic systems towards a global sustain for economy, This narrative need to be integrated in the thinking for ministers our governments in each citizen, We need to steer away from the current limited paradigm of economic growth as the end and not a means to achieve better life for all.
Perhaps the most important message of all is that there are many societal responses we have been trying to confront these problems already for few decades. There are many successful examples at the local level as well as national and international level changes already happening transformative changes already happening many sectors. We see fast evolution in from industries to local community to whole countries who are adopting different measures to accomplish these goals.
But those are not enough without bolder and bolder action in a commitment from global to local level to align our efforts in address those problems together.
These alignments is urgently needed if we want to avoid a future that is even more unequal and where nature will not serve us as it has served so far thank you [Applause]
Thank you to our three incredible co-chairs of the global assessment and I know that that applause also went to every one of the experts not only those who are here in the room but to those who unfortunately have already had to leave Paris and to everybody who’s been involved in the global assessment that round of applause was for all of you.
And I’d like to ask for one more round of applause for everybody.
I would now before we open the floor to questions, like to invite the Immediate Past Chair of IPBES, Sir Robert Watson Bob Watson to take the floor.
Bob the floor is yours .
Thank you that was a truly excellent so what does this report mean and I will be repeating some of the conclusions. You’ve just heard from the three co-chairs who in combination with the clas many of them who are here today the LA’s and the review editors have produced a superb report. They’ve committed their time and energy to alert the world my massive problem they have also identified many solutions.
There is no doubt that this is certainly the most comprehensive report ever written with an incredible amount of detail. But at the same time we should recognize that the basic message is the same as what the scientific community has been saying for more than 30 years. Biodiversity is important in its own right biodiverse is important for human wellbeing and we humans are destroying it.
In 1992 at the Earth Summit in Brazil the Convention on biodiversity was signed recognizing that biodiversity loss needed to be halted. Well since 1992 the loss of biodiversity has accelerated we ignored the warnings of 30 years ago. The evidence in this report shows that biodiversity is not only an environmental issue but it’s an economic issue a development security social ethical and moral issue. Biodiversity has incredible economic value. It’s central to development through through through food water and energy security. It’s a security issue it survives the loss of natural resources especially in poor developing countries can lead to conflict.
It’s a moral issue we should not destroy nature and it’s an ethical issue because the loss of biodiversity hurts the poorest of people further exacerbating and already inequitable world. Unless we act now to reduce the loss of biodiversity we will undermine human wellbeing for current and future generations. We need to slow down the loss and degradation of our natural habitats our forests our wetlands our grasslands our coral reefs. And along with this we need to slow down the extinction of species from insects to large charismatic species as well of course plants. The failure to meet many of the IT targets as you just heard in most countries means we need actions. We don’t need targets without actions a target without a set of specified actions is meaningless.
The meeting in China next year will be a critical milestone to see if there is the political will to take the evidence gathered in this report to start to implement the transformative changes we need to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity.
Protected areas play a very key role in preserving and conserving biodiversity. The highest priority is to first improve the management of the current protected area system and then expand the network to encompass important biodiversity not currently within the system.
We need to design a more holistic interconnected system that takes projected changes in climb into account and the needs of local people especially indigenous peoples and local communities who occupied many of the critical areas of biodiversity as you heard in the last few speeches.
Although protected areas are important the key challenge as you’ve already heard is to integrate biodiversity concerns into all relevant economic sectors. Agriculture water energy forestry mining transportation and most important of all finance.
As the report shows the largest driver of biodiversity loss in terrestrial systems to date has been land-use change. The conversion of late native habitats especially forests and grasslands into the agricultural systems have been needed to feed the world.
The challenge now is how do we transform our agricultural practices which are mainly unsustainable today – ones that produce the food we need while protecting and conserving biodiversity.
This means not expanding into pristine natural habitat use but we need to use agro-ecological practices and use less chemicals.
While climate change has not been the dominant driver of biodiversity loss to date in most parts of the world it is projected to become as or more important than the other drivers have changed therefore it’s essential that we address the issue that biodiversity loss and climate change together. This means we must transform the way we produce and use energy. The economic system as you heard from the last speaker also needs to evolve for one focus on gross domestic product. There is a need to eliminate agriculture energy and transportation subsidies that are harmful to the environment and introduce short-term incentives to stimulate sustainable production and consumption. There is a need to recognize and incorporate the value of natural capital into our economic accounting and to incorporate the values monetary and non-monetary values of biodiversity into decision-making.
Rarely do decision-makers recognize the importance of regulating services the regulation of climate pollution pollination flood control. These all have significant economic value and of course there is social value which can’t be put in economic terms the experiences we all enjoy as we walk in a forest or walk by a stream, all of these need to be considered in decision making. There is also a need to fully engage all stakeholders in decision-making including the private sector including indigenous peoples and local communities and of course the public at large.
As individuals we need to reduce food waste excessive use of energy and water especially in high-income countries. But also we need to consider our choice of diet which has a profound implication both on our health and the environment.
Obviously in addition to individual countries we need international organizations such as UNESCO to play an important role as we move forward. Because biodiversity loss and climate change our environment development economic security issues and must be addressed simultaneously, this means these issues are not just the domain of environment ministers, but equally important its ministers in agriculture energy finance transportation. Therefore governments need to be much more joined up and also government departments around the world need to work together.
In closing if we want to leave a world for our children and grandchildren that has not been destroyed by human activities, we need to act now. It is crucial that governments and the private sector around the world listen to the voices of the poor. The youth led initiative Voices for the Planet calls for a halt and the reversal of humanity’s impact on nature and a call to protect our planet by 2020, I implore everybody to sign up to this initiative. I’m often asked what is the scale of the problem and what is the urgency? The scale is immense if we do not act now many of the million threatened species will become as extinct as a dodo on this tie. I also am often asked what is the urgency? The urgency I wear cufflinks these cufflinks of watches show me and remind me we have no time to waste. The time for action is now. This report hopefully will stimulate the world to report. Thank you [Applause]
Thank you sir Bob Watson.
Ladies and gentlemen this brings us to the point in this launch where we will open the floor to questions. Given that this is a media launch I will open the questions firstly two questions from the media at this stage and if there is time I may open the floor to questions from other participants later.
We’ll start by taking questions from here in the room and we will then go to the webcast if I could ask you please to raise your hand and I’ll call on you and if you could then please stand and activate the microphone closest to you and speak in either English or French, and identify firstly yourself and your media organization and then please say to whom you would like to direct your question, and I may take more than one question at a time to help speed up the process. With that in mind I would now like to open the floor to questions from any members of the media present in the room.
Do I see any questions please I see a question here from the lady on the side could we get a microphone here please or if we could use the closest microphone thank you
Thank you my name is Paola Antoline, I am a scientific journalist and I am as well an anthropologist former by UNESCO as a junior professional officer and also work at UNESCO for several years.
So this question will be for the director-general how many programs are now active on education for the water protection, and for all the subject that we raised because as the photographer Janna truth Bertrand said if we are going on like this we need the two earths planet at least, but we only have one and every year we use earlier all the natural resource So thank you so much
Thank you very much Paola with your permission Madame director-general I’m going to take a couple of questions together and we’ll then the questions over to each of the people had been directed to do I see any other questions from here in the room if so please raise your hand if you’re a journalist in the room who would like to pose a question
I see a question from the gentleman over there originally identify any gaps in research I was thinking about insect populations which according certain studies show that they’ve declined in Germany Pato Rico, do you have any any evidence about the world tendencies and if you don’t is that a major gap for yourself or your report.
Thank you very much for the question I’m going to ask professor settlor to take that question and respond to that question when we come to the answers we’ll take one more question before asking our panelists to respond.
Madam you have the floor
My name is Santine , if I woDevinerk for Radio France ?? you mentioned demography and demography mrs. yes and you said I I believe the laws to moderate demographic growth can you expand on that what does the report say exactly
Thank you very much for those three questions let’s take them in the order they were presented.
Madame director-general would you care to take the floor
Thank you very much and thank you for your question because we believe that education to sustainable development is a very important tool in order to preserve biodiversity it is true also for climate change and our former chair of IPBES has mentioned the importance also of youth mobilization I think we can all see it with the march with the very positive and and very active role that the young people play and we are talking about their heritage.
So, it is very important for us to integrate education for sustainable development in our education programs. As you know there is a specific objectives in the agenda 2030 dedicated to education in which there is one for education for sustainable development.
So, we are leading support the Member States in developing this particular aspect in both curricula the programs and also teachers training. We have a few examples for instance of the things that we do also linked to the World Heritage Sites education and working with local communities for instance in Chile.
But we can do much more I think it’s one of the existing tools that has been that has been mentioned that can be much more developed developed hopefully we have some champions for education for sustainable development that help that supporters in financing those program as Japan. But I think we could have much more
Thank You Madame director general and the next question was going to be answered by professor Settele. Ts the question about the insects we have to study the Sherman study in the in the assessment the whole study from 2017 but we had some kind of not the newest ones are not in there because there’s some kind of time limit we could include. So, we emphasize that we have problem of insects and in our estimate on the global decline we assume something like 10% of them being endangered it’s a very conservative estimate and we point out that they are understudied so we need more studies on this so we go in direction we proving a situation it’s an important aspect but it’s maybe not as highlight as you might expect from the European setting which is big discussion in the last months last two years actually, but the state of knowledge wasn’t that far as we could could include all of it.
Now I’ll compldement the question we identify a number of areas that deserve more research the list is long oh mention some just a few for instance we still don’t know quite a lot about you know how to understand the non-material contributions of nature and ecosystems to people’s quality of life. We could advance quite a bit to value those non material contributions and make them more visible.
The relationship between different kinds of changes how climate change is interact with species distribution changes in water systems change in freshwater we’re starting to understand them to look across those sectors to really understand the implications
And there are also significant gaps in saneras analysis that would be more inclusive of more complex relationships that underlying possible pathways forward.
Thank you very much Eduardo and professor Diaz would you like to take the question on demographics please.
Yes the demographic trends in the scenarios we analyzed are driven by a combination of demographic rates so population growth and per capita consumption together they drop they drive general consumption total consumption which is a critically important driver of what’s going to happen with nature and its contributions to people.
I would like to invite Almud Arneth, who is a specialist in the scenarios to complement my answer thanks Sandra and thanks for this very important question
Just very briefly from top of my head so currently around about 6.7 billion people I believe [actually 7.7 billion]. If we’re thinking about 2050 we don’t know how many we will be but the UN basically provides sort of low medium and high population growth estimates.
The medium level by 2050 around about 9 point something. the low population growth scenarios would actually indicate that by 2050 we have less than 9 billion people and population growth would actually decline afterwards.
Thank you very much and those three questions came from the floor I’m now going to turn to my colleagues who have been taking questions from the now more than 750 participants online who are following us on the webcast and I’d like to invite my two colleagues to share with us any questions from the webcast
Terry I believe you have them I have two I have one from Seth Borenstein from The Associated Press in Washington. In more plain language can dr. Diaz or someone paint a picture of what 2050 will look like for humans, i.e. food water energy and in general if little is done
Thank you very much and we’ll dr. Diaz take that question in a moment. we’ll come back in a moment and we have the second question please.
The second question is from a gentleman at the Deutsche press agent sir it’s what is the recommended approach to land-based climate change mitigation given the warning in paragraph d8 of the summary which relates to large-scale deployment of bioenergy plantations and aforestation of non forest ecosystems?
Could I get an indication from our three co-chairs who if anybody will take that or if one of our other experts will take that, we’ll pass it to an expert in a moment great
So could I perhaps ask Sandra Diaz if you could please respond to the AP question from Seth Borenstein about plain language by 2050.
Well plain language means that if we keep doing things that the way we do in technology population growth per capita consumption and trade we are not going to be able to meet at the same time global objectives in terms of human wellbeing particularly regulating benefits to people, food for all and biodiversity/
For more precise numbers I would again invite our coordinating lead author Almud Arnold.
Well your challenge required a lot about numbers I think I’m going to I’m going to I’m going to chicken out of the numbers but I think the question is what will the world look like in 2050.
It is our choice it is purely our choice.
None of the scenarios we’ve been exploring would indicate that we cannot feed the world or cannot provide water cannot provide shelter that’s for sure. But we can do it in a sustainable way or we can do it in an unsustainable way and that is really our choice.
Tthank you very much Almud.
On the question from Deutsche Press Aventeur about the land base change relating to climate change and do we have a co-chair who would like to take that Eduardo would you.
Thank you for the questions a critical question given the importance of climate change mitigation during the next 10 years. We examine that question very carefully quite a bit of the tale the scenarios but basically we we we highlight the importance of integrated landscape management that takes into account social and ecological context in other forms of land use.
Also we highlight the importance of when implementing these kinds of policy the importance of inclusion in participation and attention to issues of equity and how those policy may affect the livelihood of people that are in these landscapes that we are envisioning to solve some of our climate mitigation issues.
I can pass to some of our colleagues as clas perhaps Clio Pen could take a little further on the question of.
I want to return to Ana’s question if I may a bit about what the world looks like in 2050. If we do choose the sustainable route what the world will look like is one that is able to feed the entire planet that’s able to meet global goals for energy that’s able to do it while limiting dangerous climate change and that world will look most different probably in terms of how our human institutions look.
The way that we run our economies, the way that we do business the way that we govern nature thank you very much to Eduardo and Clio Pen.
I believe we have one further question just from the webcast in French this time Julie The question is how can we put pressure on the economic players in order to bring about a paradigm shift what are the most urgently threatened species amongst insects and mammal species.
So as I understand that there are two parts to that question the first part is a question about action and political pressure the second question is about insect species I’m going to ask Sir Robert Watson if he could perhaps take the first part of the question about what types of political levels could perhaps be used and I’m going to again ask
Sorry its economic its economic could you repeat that part please I don’t think the translation
How do we put pressure on the economic players in order to bring about a paradigm shift and the part of the economic players?
Yes I think Eduardo covered it rather nicely in his presentation we clearly need to eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies. We clearly have to incorporate natural capital into the way we account. We clearly need to make sure we address the vested interests. In many countries of the world there are many who actually like subsidies they profit from subsidies. There’s many that like gross domestic product as an economic measure but this is not a measure of the wealth of the world.
We need to understand natural capital human capital social capital so immediately need to get government’s to think beyond GDP as a measure of wealth and incorporate these other forms of capital natural social built and human capital. That’s a much better measure but there will be lots of people with vested interests will oppose it governments have to be convinced they need to think through a modified economic paradigm for a more sustainable future and I think that’s very that’s basically the message that I thought Eduardo was clearly presenting.
Thank you sir Bob Watson and I believe dr. Andy Purvis will answer the question for us about the insect question.
So the the insects are less widely studied than vertebrate animals and plants and that means that we have a bit more uncertainty in. So we know that across most other taxonomic groups of mammals and plants that have been well studied about a quarter of those species are threatened with extinction. We have good reasons for thinking it’s rather lower in insects but it’s very unlikely to be lower than 10% of insects species threatened with extinction and there’s about five and a half million insect species so that’s about half a million species of insect threatened with extinction in the present day population trend data were too patchy to be able to estimate a global trend. But they’ve definitely been some really good studies showing sharp declines over just a generation human generation in some particular areas, and very worryingly we don’t even know what’s caused them. So we make clear that in the report as well.
So thank you very much Andy and I’m going to open the questions again here in the room. Madam you have the floor.
Thank you very much Sylvia from El Pais newspaper. You’ve made a lot of efforts saying that the government’s need to act that this is something I mean everybody locally but also the highest responsible. My question is if you make an assessment which regions or continents are more affected and if there are differences in continents and regions if this could have a political impact in the sense that some countries say well this is not my problem how to change this way of thinking if that’s the way of thinking.
I’m going to let professor Diaz take that question in a moment I’m going to ask if there are any other questions in the room that we can take before we move on
Madam your question
. ??? agency DPA and this direction but I was wondering if you could give few more very concrete examples how human action affects nature and how this affects biodiversity, and then also the individual personal approach I can have, not only change that, that I can make my government
Thank you for the question from DPA with the permission of the co-chairs perhaps we could also ask that question to any of our experts who would like perhaps to take that one just to repeat it for the experts present this was a question about can we get some concrete examples about human action influences nature and what personal approaches could be taken.
So if any of the experts would like to take or field that question patty both an error I believe is going to answer that question so perhaps let’s take those two questions
Professor Diaz the question about differences between regions and between countries and government action versus other action your question please.
As we said in the PowerPoint presentation the planet is becoming increasingly unequal but at the same time increasingly connected so it’s true that some regions are much more impacted than others and scenarios indicate that they will be even more differential impacted.
Regions like basically the global South many areas in Latin America many areas in Africa some areas in southeastern Asia so yes those regions should be particularly worried but the global everybody in the world should be worried too because the other part of the message we we had is that we are increasingly interconnected. So what happens in in in one region unavoidably will have repercussions in all the others.
We are a single interconnected web of life. And that is not just a metaphor we have all the evidence and report to prove that. So that is a very clear message we have to tell all governments in the world.
And if you allow me to encroach slightly in the next question which is what kind of actions in the individual level I will not go into the details, my colleague will do go in there, but I would say that as a citizen, you have to claim your birthright to have a fulfilling life deeply connected with the fabric of life which is healthy and in working order. That’s not a luxury, that’s everyone’s birthright.
Thank you very much professor Diaz and I’d like to ask Dr. Patricia Bell Venera to add to that answer.
Thank you very much. So the study shows that there are five direct impacts on nature with differential importance. The first one is changes in the way we use land and sea and I will go to concrete examples in a second. The second one is direct exploitation of organisms, the third is climate change, the fourth is pollution, and the fifth is invasion of alien species.
So if we go to changes in the way we use land and sea we have shown that agricultural expansion is one of the major drivers of changes in land. So, a third of today’s land surface is being used today for cropping or animal husbandry but in the seas the fisheries is very important it covers 50% of the sea.
If we think about direct exploitation what we have found is that today we extract 60 billion tons of materials a year from nature to satisfy our demands. So these means we extract crops and fish, minerals and so on. If we think about a invasive species we these are species that because of trade and human activities moving people moving from one place to the other we take species with us. It can be a tiny microbe, it can be maybe a rat [or] a fish and this has caused huge impacts, because when they arrive in different ecosystems they changed completely the nature of these places.
And I was looking for the number of how this much has increased professor I didn’t find it but that’s another example.
I wonder if we could perhaps have that as natural answer to that question if anybody wants to take that further later I believe there was one additional point that Professor chi-chan would like to add to this as well.
The question of what individuals can do is a really important question and it’s one that the summary for policy makers doesn’t directly address that effectively. At the moment individuals are stuck in a place where what they’re being asked to do is to consume differently and to consume less and that is a very complicated thing that most people find daunting and paralyzing.
So what we’re suggesting in this report is the need to move towards a global sustainable economy. That’s not gonna happen on its own we’ve talked about vested interests and the need to overcome them and that need is gonna have to come from the people putting pressure on businesses and on governments voting and voting with their dollars, and committing to that in a very public way. At the moment what we have is effectively a tragic trade-off that nations face where they have to choose between protecting their local environments or having jobs and if they protect the local environments those jobs get exported elsewhere with damaging development often to less developed nations right. And so this tragic trade-off is the cause of the lack of a global sustainable economy. If we had basic minimum standards across the board then that would address that tragic trade-off and mean that we could lift humanity out of poverty in some cases without undermining the environment.
Thank You Kai and and as I’m sure our media colleagues will probably want to speak to you afterwards if you can make yourself available for more on that I’m sure there’ll be questions around that.
I believe we have two more questions from the webcast I’m going to hand back to Terri Terri if you can give us the next two questions please,
The first is from Fritz haku’s from in Germany he asks as the key messages are not much different from key messages of previous reports the Millennium assessment the Global Environmental Outlook what makes you optimistic that this report will ignite the radical change needed.
The other is from marlow hood the IOM’s france-presse unlike the IPCC special report on 1.5 celsius the episode global assessment does not lay out scenarios with timelines and quantified projections of what it would take to achieve concrete targets why not.
So the question from design about the key messages and the difference on the key messages I’m going to ask Sep Settele to answer and the question from Marlow hood from the AFP about the scenarios I’m going to ask sorry we’re going to ask the experts maybe Caillou can take that question great so except for the first question.
You’re right it’s not let’s say dramatically different from previous reports but the whole difference here is that it is a process behind which includes all the governments.
So it’s totally different from all the other reports before.
We jointly have developed this as a co-designed process which takes everybody on board so everybody’s in the game. It’s not just something done by some scientists somewhere, it’s done let’s say proposed by us of course then developed through an interchange with many rounds of comments and refuse and then finally agreed down to the exact wording if all the government’s present, there are hundred governments and something very different because it’s a different commitment to the entire regime.
Thankyou very much Sep. Eduardo, you wanted to add something?
Just to complement that there are important difference in this report in the way we approach those issues together. Soo the questions that we address are cross-cutting questions. We’re not looking at just biodiversity or climate or social issues. The other significant difference is the systematic nature of the evaluation done in this report. The most comprehensive evaluation that has been systematic across the literature.
And that includes a whole new generation of data that weren’t available to other reports. The integration of data at a scale that were able to do I think provides solid evidence. Not only to confirm those warnings that were done before but also you know to raise issues more specifically where it’s affecting which species groups which kinds of ecosystems how does it interact with the contributions of people.
So I think there are very important difference that this report provides compared to others. But the message is the same that’s the mess that we’ve comeing from: individuals to large to large organizations and international networks.
We need to act together this situation is very critical and it’s cascading at an impact that we haven’t seen before.
Professor Sandra Diaz.
I just want to add that another unique component is that this is the most interdisciplinary report ever made.
We have massive evidence from the Natural Sciences, economy, and social sciences, all put together in a consistent whole. So we can now say something that we believe wasn’t said so strongly or so clearly in any previous report is that we cannot have separate targets for biodiversity conservation, for wellbeing for all, and for water and food, and climate, separately. We need to integrate them because they are all integrated themselves, underpinned by the fabric of life.
So focusing on how we keep the fabric of life whole will allow us to bring a future with all the objectives together.
That I believe has not been said in the other previous reports
Thank You Sandra Kai if you could please take Marlowe hoods question from the AFP about the scenarios.
Yeah first can I answer the two together because they really do two go together the Sandra’s point is a good one no previous assessment has considered at this scale the simultaneous challenge of protecting nature maintaining water feeding the planet supplying energy while mitigating climate change etc this is the most exhaustive report to have ever done that.
Now the answers to how to do that are absolutely innovative and they come from this report.
When have you ever seen an intergovernmental document that that proposed or called for a global sustainable economy, that argued for the elimination of harmful environmental subsidies, and that noted that vested interest would need to be overcome to do that.
I mean these are quite outstanding things for an intergovernmental process to agree to. Nations do not have to accept our findings and they did accept these so that that’s quite startling actually.
But the point is those answers came out of a process that was not a quantitative modeling process. I mean partly there were many quantitative models that supported it but in order to answer that question about how to achieve those simultaneous goals you have to go beyond the quantitative models because we don’t have specific quantitative models that allow us to answer the question of how all of those different goals interact together in a complex world where ecosystems underpin everything.
So we don’t have quantitative targets and quantitative timelines etc of that nature. If we did it would be false precision.
We’re telling you as has already been said by Bob and Ann it is up to us
Thank you very much kai and I’m gonna open again for further questions we have about another ten minutes of question time available so there is still time if you’d like to get questions in
Do I see any other questions from here in the room from any of the journalists present
I don’t see questions from journalists I do
Swami fromthe economic times you know the report talks about a holistic approach but often when in the conversation on climate change there are solutions and options suggested and governments take don’t take those and those have impact on the sort of a negative impact on biodiversity and ecosystems and I’m wondering what kind of sort of pathways are or solutions have been suggested that actually approach the issue of dealing with climate change in a manner that doesn’t create more harm because often that ends up being the case.
I mean not intended but that’s the unintended consequence.
Thank you to Almott and potentially to Professor Paul lately on this one as well right so we’ll come back to Alma and Paul lately in a moment I believe there’s another question at the back
Jibon Ravindran Reuters TV I have two questions one is if we continue at the same rate we’re going now at what point will we start to see irreversible consequences and what will the first ones likely to be and the second is this there might be different viewpoints on this I don’t know but what was the most alarming case or finding that you came up with.
So the question about at what point do things become irreversible and when and what would any of the co-chairs like to take that any of our experts like to take that specifically.
okay so professor Paul ledely, it seems like he’s going to take that part of the first question
So, when do things become inevitable when we pass tipping points that’s a really important question we discuss this in a little bit of detail in the in the background report not so much in the summary for policymakers but what we know is that some systems can tip relatively soon and I’ll just give a couple of examples.
There can be major regime shifts in coral reefs over the next decade driven by combinations of climate change pollution and other factors. That degradation is going on now and it is predicted to be extremely rapid unless we do something very concrete about the factors that are driving it.
Another example are large changes in Arctic tundra ecosystems or Arctic and polar systems more generally the climate change is increasing theremore than any other place in the world and that makes them highly impacted by climate change and that could have major consequences.
They’re covered by ice or our our have ice underneath them in the soils and those can melt and that has tremendous consequences for both the ecosystem but also for our climate because as that ice melts there will be more radiation absorbed by the earth and there will be more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that could create feedbacks at the global scale that are extremely important and could happen over the next couple of decades.
And then I believe there was also a second part of that question but before we get to that, the alarming cases was the second part which were the most alarming cases I think professor Paul lately has pointed to some of those would anybody amongst the experts like to point to any other alarming cases or specific examples before we move on.
Well on the aggregate I think when we we look at wetlands and that we have severely altered eighty-five percent of the wetlands on the planet to me that sounds pretty alarming you know what means play an important role in local in regions in many areas and that’s one case of a whole system globally that creates that problem.
When building on post questions that we’re starting to understand now at a global scale the interconnection of many tipping points we’re only starting to understand tipping points in Alaska tipping points in the Amazon tipping points in high mountains and also in the end is very Malaya’s so we’re starting to see interconnections of those first changed without understanding how they gonna how they gonna be.
So going to a question of a future where we continue business a business as usual is the future full of uncertainty and risks of things that we’re starting only to learn now.
Professor Diaz, you wanted to add something?
I wanted to add that we understand that all the examples mentions are vivid unimportant at illustrations but the most important point from the report is that all these particular examples have to be understood like symptoms of the same thing.
So, if you think of somebody having a really serious disease which would be the symptoms which is most critical, which of the analysis from from the lab will be the most worrying? Actually none on its own all the analysis together compose a picture and the whole consistent picture the way they interact with other is the bad news or the good news. So in our case the most important message is not different particular cases but rather that everywhere in the world the evidence points to the same trends.
Thank you dr. Andy Purvis did you want to add something to that.
Just briefly to to pick up on the point that Professor Deanna’s made there basically the patient here has very very very many symptoms we could call it almost the death of a thousand cuts but it is key to remember it’s not a terminal diagnosis but the medicine has to start right away. So there are symptoms everywhere but there are cures and we have the choice of whether or not we take them
Thank you dr. cape raman.
And to bring this back around to the question about climate change interventions one of the things that we see consistently in this report is that people are really good at working with nature to do the specific thing they want. To grow crops or harvest timber and we are absolutely capable of working with nature to sequester carbon to mitigate climate change.
But another incredibly important message we see here is that there are trade-offs and there are possibilities for synergies so that when we don’t pay attention to the wide range of benefits that nature provides to the life-support systems the water the air the non-material benefits then we get things wrong and we don’t do the job we want to do to be successful.
And we can do that so there’s quite a lot of hope moving forward to take into account all of these different benefits and get that climate change mitigation that we need as well as other benefits with it.
Thank you okay see a lot more answers from our experts and I will allow those could I just get an indication before I go for those how many more questions we have from media so I see at least one more question here another one not from media because this is a key partner so that’s two media questions and I’m gonna ask experts if you could please give those answers in your interviews afterwards let’s get the questions asked first.
First question was over here ma’am you have the floor could you use the microphone please we can’t hear you.
(Italian newspaper) My question is if you’re in your opinion antibiotic resistance is affected by the destruction of ecosystems
It’s a very specific question and we’re gonna ask professor Diaz to take that question and then there was another question
(from France future radio station) you spoke about the need to choose diet what would that international diet be less meat which were discussing a lot in the world and particularly in France?
Aanother question that concerns France mainly you said that the real challenge for the future is to integrate biodiversity and the whole economic approach and particularly in mining. What sort of mining are you referring to?
Gold for example gold mining is that one of their ores that we we shouldn’t go mining what with the negative impact on indigenous peoples and local communities which would be the case for France and in its overseas territory beyond.
Part question firstly the part about diets with any of our so dr. Yunshan can take the diet question and around the mining particularly the impact around economic mining and we’re going to also throw that question to Professor Sandra Diaz
So professor Diaz the first question was the antibiotic resistance would you like to take that question
Yes. Thank you for that question actually the antibiotic resistant that is increasingly affecting the human microbiome which is in dynamic contact with the external microbiome is a very good case a very vivid case of a much more widespread phenomenon, which is fast contemporary evolution on the fair in the face of anthropogenic pressures.
We are all used to think that evolution is something that happens over thousands or millions of years but we have overwhelming evidence that evolution can go really fast under human pressures. Organisms evolved as a result of what we are doing to them. We have cases with antibiotic resistance we have cases of increased resistance of weeds to massively applied pesticides, we have cases of fungi we have cases of mammals we have had we have cases of birds and insects adapting to the new conditions posed by big cities etc.
So the extent of our reconfiguration of nature is such that we are directly reconfiguring the evolutionary process itself. Including antibiotic resistance of course.
Thank you very much professor you wanted to make a comment.
Yes about the question of which many but about sober consumption which is one of the main lever of a transformative change in talking about sober consumption in developed in developed countries.
So there are material benefits provided by nature fiber water but also food and I take example for food. There are studies which showed quite recently that if you reduce the level of animal protein in the diets of people in developed countries you can substantially reduce the area dedicated to pasture, and to agriculture. That has a huge effect.
Likewise the waste food waste aid is an enormous amount of the food production in the world. There are between 40 and 50 percent of the fruit and veggies which are wasted about 30 percent of cereals.
So just to say that in developed countries those ways happen at the very end of the food chain production happens at the very end of the food distribution and on the consumers plate.
Whereas in developed countries it happens more upstream that is in terms of the production capacity and in terms of the storage capacity.
So there are things here to be done in in terms of food waste food consumption changing food consumption patterns but also equity in access to the resources.
If you allow me I’ll give you an example for equity but otherwise.
There a number of questions still pending which we do need to get to a running very short on time there was still the outstanding question or about what to do with economic issues and particularly mining which I believe was outstanding would any of the co-chairs like to take that
In a brief way mining is a particular case because the spatial footprint of mining is very small but the environmental impact is very significant and the social impact can be significant.
So you have you know in many areas number of pollution of heavy metal and other issues that are associated with mining that enter into food chains enter into you know fresh water and land food chains that then end up being distributed with a high impact. You have direct impact of pollution and extraction on local population particular. Many of the areas where you have indigenous areas are the frontiers of mining in the planet and that is expanding continue to expand both in the Arctic or in regions like the Amazon in regions like Africa. And mining is far beyond environmental problems mining you know when when of course done without the responsibility that it requires, it has huge implications for social impacts and conflicts.
I think one of the biggest challenge not only to say about the you know the the negative impacts of mining is that mining is one of the sectors where we need to implement a circular economy and there are sectors in – there are countries that are starting to confront that.
So it’s an example where an industry that we also depend on you know can take a different path by reconsider its impacts from beginning to end along the full chain of production processing distribution and consumption.
Thank you professor Eduardo Brondizio.
I’m going to take the last two questions from our webcast that have come in Terry Collins if you can give us those two questions please
Yes it’s again from Seth Borenstein at the AAP just if the question if the answer could be provided in simple and very simple language can you tell the average person who lives in a city why this matters to them why it’s more than just species.
I see Dr Cape Brahmin would like to take that question I’m gonna ask the other question as well to come through again it’s
And this is again Marlo hood from AFP can Bob Watson elaborate on vested interests concretely what industries and sectors are we talking about.
So in order to give dr. Bob Watson an opportunity to think quickly about that cape Brahmin if you could please take the question about people living in urban areas why this is important in simple language please.
We see tremendous opportunities for people in urban areas to take advantage of the benefits that nature provides. So this includes everything from urban green spaces parks which have been shown to have an effect on mental health and childhood learning, to really actually managing some of the problems in cities like storm water, or potentially air pollution. There are lots of opportunities to take advantage of the benefits of nature at home and also as people in cities travel. What happens around the world comes back and affects them through trade through learning through inspiration and we’ve seen many connections at home
I want to complement that question. We’re here in Paris. Can you experience Paris without nature every place we turn corner here we see biodiversity expose it to us on the streets when we open the tap here we drink excellent water. When we look at the parks and when we look at the atmosphere in the city it’s all about nature.
Thank you very much
yeah totally simple question there’s many in the fossil fuel industry that have energy subsidies much better to use that money as an economic incentive to stimulate renewable energy wind and solar or to stimulate the generation of new electric cars.
There’s many agricultural subsidies that farmers received rather than subsidized in production at subsidizing agro-ecological processes with incentives.
So there’s a lot in the fossil fuel industry the agricultural sector who would not want to see energy subsidies reduced, transportation subsidy or agricultural subsidy but it’s these sort of hard decisions that governments need to take.
Thank you very much we have reached the end of the time available for the questions as was my choice last year I’m going to do the same this year I’m gonna let one question be from a non media participant and I recognize go to MITLacher from WWF Germany
Yes sir thank you very much there was a lot of discussion on what the role of decision makers are and that’s very clear in my view but what’s the role of business private sectors was not debated here. I think there was a lot in in the report that is relevant for business as well can you reflect on that a little bit more thank you.
And since this is the last question I am going to first ask one of our experts here to answer it.
I think business community has a lotta to offer and also had a lotta to lose if we don’t protect about a Westie because talked about Coca Cola for example the company which make soft drinks they need really good water to make drinks. If without drinks they cannot do anything right there well they’re one run out of business. Talk about that they are ski industry without snow they cannot do anything but a lot of times they also needed the clean snow if we have fluid? snow then people will be affected and in the host problem maybe. And talk about the food industry without by obesity we don’t have food treat like rice is a major food for Asian country and around the world the even in France and the hybrid rice is made of the white rice I think that’s very important everything like we needed to take care of is from the business but business to rely on why our wildlife wild plants and biodiversity and in general so I think biodiversity actually is more probably more important than to business community then many other people thank you
Thank you very much it
I’m going to compliment this this question and this answer by highlighting there is the alignment of individual actions of business of governments that will make a difference and we have experienced where this has happened and if we think about the Montreal Protocol when we start to realize the thinning of the ozone layer when you start to see the potential health implications of the ozone layer.
That message came across very quickly people start to use the sprays in their house business start to look for new technologies in those whose whole industries transformed to include new technologies in International Cooperation. Legislations make that happen so we saw the impact of that true transformative change that happened many years ago and that we shouldn’t forget that’s possible and that’s possible because individuals did that businesses did that technology respond to that in international cooperation act together
Thank you very much we literally are very short on time Caillou wanted to make one final comment on this but quite short please
Crucial role for business is also to transform supply chains so that means working within their sector to raise the standards for all. In many cases businesses have frankly been in opposition to regulations but when they work outside of government regulations as has been done for a number of commodities such as through the roundtable for sustainable palm oil, then they can work together to raise standards such that the bad actors within an industry are not pulling down the rest. Palm oil has a really bad name and it’s because there are some really bad actors, but there are also some good actors there.
Thank you very much and thank you to WWF Germany for that question I’d also like to just recognize the fact that under the hashtag call for nature today there was a call put out by the WWF Network based on a lot of the work that is coming out of the IPBES report so if anybody would like to talk to WWF afterwards also that’s I’m sure available.
This brings us to the end of the question and answer session today and also to the end of the media launch event. Before we close I would like to remind everybody this is not the end of the IPBES global assessment report in fact it is just the beginning we move now to the phase of uptake and impact.
I’d like to thank all of our speakers especially the director-general of UNESCO for all of their participation I’d really like to again thank all of our experts for their work over the last three years and finally thank you to all of you who joined us here today in person and via the webcast your interest in this report and your willingness to report on it to the world makes these efforts worthwhile and will be the foundation of their impact thank you all very much and a very good day to you all thank you [Applause]