Friday, 15 January 2021

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Our endangered planet needs the Sustainable Development Goals more than ever

Photo illustration for WWF Living Planet 2016 report

The biggest marine sanctuary in the world will be created in the Antarctic, after an agreement signed today by the European Union and 24 other countries. This is excellent news to coincide with the recent alert by the Worldwide Wildlife Fund (WWF) on the ongoing extinction of the Earth’s species.

The WWF’s most recent report proves chilling reading. More than half of wild animals have disappeared in the past 40 years and it would take the equivalent of 1.6 times the earth to satisfy human needs today.

By 8 August 2016, humans had already consumed the total resources that the planet could renew in one year. In eight months, we have emitted more carbon than the oceans and the forests can absorb in one year, we have fished more fish, cut down more trees, harvested more, and consumed more water than the earth could produce in the same period, the WWF has indicated.

Just days ago, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) announced that levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, the most powerful greenhouse gas, had crossed an unprecedented threshold.

These reports by the WWF and WMO and many others show, if it was again necessary, that the planet is in danger, that human activity is principally responsible and that even the survival of the human species is not guaranteed.

Inventing a new model

After last year’s signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, the UN Climate Change Conference 2016 (COP22), which opens on 7 November in Marrakesh, Morocco, is about action. The reports have already been made, there is no other option but to act.

A few months after signing the historic Paris agreement, which enters into force on 4 November 2016, the 193 member States of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Interconnected, universal, ambitious, their only purpose is to transform the world so that it becomes more equal, more just, more sustainable.

Goal 14, Life Below Water (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) and Goal 15, Life Above Land (Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss) tackle the issues of species conservation and preservation of the environment.

These two goals on their own are not enough; the protection of biodiversity of the planet and the human species depends on the global success of the SDGs. More sustainable production, forest preservation and the fight against climate change, more reasonable consumption, even justice and peace... It is only by implementing all the SDGs that we can hope to reverse the trend.

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