An international report says the world has failed to meet any of its 2020 biodiversity targets for birds.
The Aichi targets were set in 2010 at a meeting of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan.
The BirdLife International report uses data about birds to report on 18 of the 20 targets, concluding that birds around the world continue to decline and face extinction.
“The report shows the world has failed to meet biodiversity targets, but this is not a reason to give up,” says Forest & Bird’s Kevin Hackwell.
“There are many reasons for hope in this report, including the incredible leadership from New Zealand on efforts to tackle invasive species.”
Forest & Bird is BirdLife’s partner organisation in New Zealand, and employs BirdLife’s global programme coordinator for invasive alien species work, Kevin Hackwell.
Invasive alien species like rats and cats pose a threat to one-third of the world’s threatened species, including 49 percent of threatened island species.
“This report acknowledges New Zealand’s work on the international target of tackling invasive alien species. New Zealand has successfully eradicated introduced mammals from over 100 offshore islands,” says Mr Hackwell.
New Zealand’s orange-fronted parakeet (kākāriki karaka or Malherbe’s Parakeet) is also highlighted in the report. BirdLife data shows it’s about 65% likely that their extinction has been prevented by conservation actions in the last ten years.
“New Zealand is particularly good at using conservation efforts to save species on the brink of extinction,” says Mr Hackwell.
“However, we’re not so good at reducing the direct pressures that put birds and other species at risk in the first place. We need to reverse the trends like continued wetland clearance, unstainable fisheries, and freshwater pollution in New Zealand.”
“New Zealand’s the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity and improved freshwater rules will go some way to achieving this if they are successfully implemented.”
On other targets, New Zealand has under-performed. For example, target 11 calls for 10 percent of coastal and marine areas to be protected, but less than one percent of New Zealand’s oceans are protected areas.
“This is one of many reports that show nature is in big trouble world-wide. We really need the next Government to put nature at the heart of everything we do in New Zealand so we can meet our international targets and save our amazing wildlife.”