UN-Water input on Freshwater-Biodiversity Linkages: Response to the Zero-Draft Document from the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

14 February, 2020

Freshwater ecosystems host exceptional biodiversity: covering less than 1% of the Earth’s surface, they harbour more than 10% of all species. Despite their critical importance, the biodiversity crisis impacts freshwater ecosystems most significantly out of all ecosystems. More than 50% of all wetlands globally have been lost since 1900 with inland wetlands being lost faster than coastal and marine, and freshwater vertebrate populations have fallen by 83% since 1970, which is more than twice as steeply as terrestrial or marine populations.

No global framework exists to guide policy responses commensurate with the scale and urgency of the situation, and the existing targets and indicators including current Aichi Biodiversity Targets are simply not adequate to set forth the ambitious framework needed to motivate international action. Under these circumstances, the targets and indicators need to be improved, and more actions need to be scaled up.

Emerging scientific consensus is pointing the way towards principle areas of action for recovery of freshwater biodiversity, focusing on implementing environmental flows, improving water quality, protecting and restoring critical habitats, managing over-exploitation of freshwater species and materials, preventing and controlling invasive species, and safeguarding and restoring habitat connectivity. These areas of action can form the basis of improved targets and indicators.

In 2020, governments will review the Strategic Plan under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and formulate a global biodiversity framework that will include new goals, targets and indicators for 2030 and 2050. This paper aims to provide consolidated and constructive input from the entire UN-Water membership to inform the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

This paper proposes detailed suggestions on the new goals and targets of the CBD framework, and recommends coherent monitoring and reporting on all targets and indicators related to freshwater and biodiversity between the SDG and the new CBD frameworks. Moreover, this paper proposes that other actions should be strengthened, including: addressing the drivers of freshwater biodiversity loss, developing capacity-building activities, reforming the governments’ responses to challenges, improving financial and technical resources, and enhancing public-private partnerships.

The recommendations set forth in this technical input paper have been endorsed by UN-Water and as such it represents the collective position of UN-Water’s 32 Members and 41 Partners.