Ahead of the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, focused this year on water resources, experts are calling for greater international cooperation to find sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the problem of species loss and environmental degradation according to the report Natural Solutions for Water Security, published by the Convention on Biological Diversity.
According to Francisco Rilla, information and capacity building officer at the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), an intergovernmental treaty signed in 1979 in Bonn, Germany, “The ‘Big Five’ primary causes of biodiversity loss … are habitat destruction, overharvesting and poaching, pollution, climate change and introduction of invasive species.”
Migratory species are especially vulnerable “as they depend entirely on a network of well-functioning ecosystems to refuel, reproduce and survive in every ‘station’ they visit and upon unrestricted travel,” Rilla told IPS.
The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) notes that many migrating birds, such as cranes, storks, shorebirds and eagles, travel thousands of kilometres across flyways that span countries, continents and even the entire globe.
However, “half of the world’s wetlands – natural water storage systems – have been lost over the past century,” Nick Nuttall, UNEP spokesperson, told IPS.
Because of the degradation of their habitats, some migratory bird species could lose up to nine percent of their populations, while others, like the spoon-billed sandpiper, could become extinct within a decade, leading to further ecosystem changes and ultimately impacting on human development.These birds use wetlands to rest, feed and breed along their migration routes.
This response is interesting.
In March 2007, at the request of the Group of Eight largest economies along with several developing countries, UNEP started an initiative called ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity’ (TEEB), aiming at studying the economic benefits of biodiversity and incorporating them into policy-making.
How does economics evaluate an extinction, or an ecosystem collapse? As economics is currently structured, will such tragedies not be systematically undervalued?