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Call for Shropshire folk to pressure Government on targets to protect nature

By Rob Smith | Environment | Published:

The RSPB has accused the Government of not matching its stated environmental ambitions with real progress, and urged Shropshire residents to join its call for stronger action.

A redshank. Photo: Andy Hay (RSPB-images)

A United Nations report examined global efforts to halt environmental decline over the last 10 years. Now, new analysis from the RSPB has said the UK’s self-assessment is overly optimistic.

The UN's Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report shows the world has failed to meet a series of goals agreed a decade ago to halt destruction, damage and loss of habitats and wildlife by a 2020 deadline.

The report, published by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), said it is not too late to halt and ultimately reverse the declines, as countries look to agree new targets for the next decade to 2030.

But it will take "transformative changes" in areas driving declines, such as the food system, including a shift to sustainable farming and mostly "plant-based diets" with more moderate meat consumption, and dramatic cuts in food waste.

Aichi Targets

An RSPB report ‘A Lost Decade for Nature’ said that the Government has only met three of the 20 'Aichi Targets' it agreed on 10 years ago, and in six others may have actually regressed.

A decade ago, ‘the Aichi Targets’ were hailed as the blueprint for saving life on Earth and reversing the terrible losses in wildlife and the natural environment seen over previous decades. The RSPB believes the cause for their failure was that the targets were not legally binding, so Governments around the world, including in the UK, were not compelled to act.

Beccy Speight, chief executive at the RSPB, said: “Next year we have the opportunity to play a leading role in developing a new set of global targets to restore nature. But first we need an honest assessment that recognises we need to do much more at home.

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"We have targets enshrined in law to tackle the climate emergency, but none, yet, to reverse the crisis facing nature. We cannot be in this same position in 2030 with our natural world vanishing due to inaction.”

The RSPB has launched the Revive Our World campaign, pushing for legally binding targets to restore nature and deliver a green recovery across all Governments of the UK.

'The hard work must start today'

The RSPB said the UK's key Aichi target failings include a lack of progress on protecting species threatened with extinction as well as their habitats; failing to properly monitor National Parks and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs); and inadequate funding for conservation efforts.

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During the past decade public funding for the environment and nature has declined in the UK from £641 million (2012/13) to just £456 million (2017/18), a drop of almost 30 per cent.

Beccy Speight added: “This is a global issue, and something that will take a generation to resolve, however the hard work must start today. The UK is not alone in failing to meet the ambitious targets set out ten years ago, but it is now time that the high ambitions set by successive Governments becomes action at home as well as leading the international effort.

“We now need people across the UK to stand up for nature, to let our politicians know this is not good enough and we demand they revive our world. Every country in the UK must create legally binding targets to restore nature, invest in nature and green jobs, and support farmers to produce healthy food that’s good for people, climate and wildlife. We have to put our money where our mouth is and use the next decade to do something truly impressive.” 

The RSPB has launched its Revive our World campaign and encourages Shropshire people to make their views clear to the Government.

To find out more visit rspb.org.uk/ReviveOurWorld.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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