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Marine biodiversity provides a critical set of ecosystem services and resources to society, from moderating climate to providing food, medicine, and jobs for millions of people. The primary drivers of biodiversity loss are overexploitation, human pressures in coastal environments (habitat loss, development, and pollution), and increasingly, climate change and ocean acidification.
The stakes are high. The unprecedented decline of biodiversity has tangible impacts on ecosystem integrity, human health, livelihoods, and food security. In the coastal zone itself, over 500 million people worldwide benefit from protection by ecosystems including coral reefs, mangroves, kelp forests, and seagrass beds. The natural capacity of the ocean to provide these ecosystem services and goods will continue to weaken without action to maintain and restore marine habitats and biodiversity.
To address losses in biodiversity and marine habitat, the international community has increasingly focused on the protection of marine areas. Global coordination to protect biodiversity for the next decade is gaining momentum and will be an area of heightened focus as countries gather at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming in May 2021. A growing coalition of scientists, Indigenous peoples, and advocates are calling for an updated global target to protect at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.
This Deeper Dive on Biodiversity and Marine Protected Areas features interviews with policy practitioners, philanthropists, and NGOs to explore current and emerging trends in the field and opportunities to move the needle on this issue in the coming months. It also includes a primer for readers to understand the inextricable interconnections between climate change and biodiversity and ways to pursue solutions aimed at addressing these twin crises.
Explore resources to learn about the latest trends for biodiversity and MPAs, as well as opportunities for action.
This Deeper Dive features interviews with leading practitioners to explore current and emerging trends as well as opportunities for action in the coming months. It also includes a curated collection of seminal field reports.
- Can the Super Year for the Ocean Still Make a Comeback?
Justin Kenney of the UN Foundation offers a behind-the-scenes look into the refreshed landscape of the “ocean super year,” highlighting where we can expect progress this year and next.
- Maintaining Momentum for Ocean Conservation Ahead of COP 15: Brian O’Donnell of Campaign for Nature Sets the Stage
Brian O’Donnell of the Campaign for Nature provides a state of play on the post-2020 biodiversity framework and what needs to happen between now and COP 15 to achieve a 30×30 target.
- An Action Agenda to Achieve 30×30: Brian O’Donnell at Campaign for Nature Outlines the First Steps
Brian O’Donnell of the Campaign for Nature shares words of caution and tangible ways that the marine sector can move the needle to secure an ambitious deal for ocean protection in 2021.
- Voices of Biodiversity: Perspectives from the Field
Several leaders from the field join Karen Sack and Meg Caldwell to share their perspectives on the latest Global Biodiversity Outlook and ways in which the ocean can help us achieve the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.
- A Primer on Climate Change and Marine Biodiversity
Although frequently viewed as siloed crises, climate change and biodiversity are inextricably connected, particularly in the ocean. Understanding these interconnections is key to addressing these twin threats and implementing solutions with higher likelihood of success.
Explore our curated collection of relevant published studies and reports on this topic.