The ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDG) Report for 2013 was released by the UN Secretary General in Geneva on 1st July 2013. The eight MDGs range from halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty, to reducing child mortality and fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. The main objective of the report is to evaluate the progress towards these goals both globally and regionally on a year-by-year basis, and to identify which targets have been met and those which require considerably more effort. UNEP-WCMC contributes to measuring progress towards Goal 7 of the MDGs – ensuring environmental sustainability.
UNEP-WCMC prepares the indicators for Goal 7B – to reduce biodiversity loss and, by 2010, to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of loss. More specifically, Indicator 7.6 monitors progress towards one aspect of this target – defined as the proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected. At the start of each year, UNEP-WCMC uses the latest dataset of designated protected areas listed in the ‘World Database on Protected Areas’ (WDPA) to calculate protected area coverage, and publishes the results in the annual MDG report, with its statistical annex published separately on the MDG Indicators webpage. Data are collated by ministries of environment and other ministries whose role it is to designate and maintain protected areas.
Since 1990, the proportion of terrestrial and marine areas under protection has increased. IUCN defines protected areas as “clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.” The report shows that protected terrestrial areas have increased from 8.9% of the world’s land surface in 1990 to 14.6% in 2012, and during this time, protected marine areas have more than doubled in coverage from 4.6% to 9.7%. Coverage is highest in Latin America, but further effort is needed to improve both coverage elsewhere and the value of the global protected area network.
Whilst protected area coverage is on the rise, IUCN’s Red List Index indicates there is a gradual decrease in populations and distribution ranges of species, associated with a rise in the risk of species extinctions. This continued decline in biodiversity significantly impacts on the ecosystem services that we depend on. A few countries, such as Denmark and Sweden, have been successful in the reduction in risk of extinction for some native species, but more countries need to make further progress if this target is to be met.
To view the MDG Report 2013, click here
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