What do birds tell us about progress to the Aichi Targets and requirements for the post-2020 biodiversity framework?


There has been much concern over the world’s catastrophic failure to meet global targets set in 2010 to save biodiversity. Birds and Biodiversity Targets uses BirdLife’s extensive worldwide research to provide a road map to ensure the 2020s are not just another “lost decade for nature”. As well as outlining the shortfalls of each of the targets, this publication also brings a message of hope to the world, using bird conservation successes to show that solutions exist for the problems facing the biosphere, and that nature can recover swiftly when these are enacted.

The report aims to dispel the idea that the governments failed because the targets were unachievable, outlining the actions needed to plot a course where, by 2050, nature and humanity can live in harmony.


  • Executive summary
  • Forewords
  • The wider context for a focus on birds and biodiversity targets
  • Introduction
  • Strategic Goal A
  • Target 1 – Raising awareness of the value of biodiversity
  • Target 2 – Mainstreaming biodiversity values
  • Target 3 – Reforming incentives
  • Target 4 – Achieving sustainable production and consumption
  • Strategic Goal B
  • Target 5 – Reducing habitat loss and degradation
  • Target 6 – Sustainable fisheries
  • Target 7 – Ensuring sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
  • Target 8 – Reducing pollution
  • Target 9 – Tackling invasive species
  • Target 10 – Minimizing pressures on coral reefs and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change
  • Strategic Goal C
  • Target 11 – Protecting and conserving biodiversity
  • Target 12 – Preventing extinctions
  • Target 13 – Maintaining genetic diversity in crops, livestock and wild relatives 38
  • Strategic Goal D 40
  • Target 14 – Safeguarding and restoring ecosystems that provide essential services
  • Target 15 – Enhancing ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks
  • Strategic Goal E
  • Target 18 – Traditional knowledge
  • Target 19 – Improving and sharing knowledge of biodiversity
  • Target 20 – Mobilising resources for implementing the CBD
  • Key implications for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
  • Indicators for measuring progress
  • Targets are important, but implementation is key
  • References

Executive summary

In 2010, Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the Strategic Plan, containing 20 ‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets’ to tackle the loss of nature.

Birds are excellent environmental indicators.In this report, we synthesise data from birds to examine to what degree each Aichi Target was met, and to identify examples of positive trends and successes.

Data from birds suggest that we have failed to meet in full any of the 18/20 Aichi Targets assessed:

The underlying drivers of loss of nature remain, with biodiversity still not yet adequately mainstreamed across all sectors.

Agriculture, forestry and fisheries continue to be managed unsustainably, driving habitat loss and degradation.

Pollution, invasive alien species and climate change are growing threats to birds and other biodiversity.
Protected area networks are yet to provide adequate coverage of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs, Key Biodiversity Areas identified for birds), with 36% of IBAs being entirely unprotected.

Species continue to be driven towards extinction, with declines of common species undermining delivery of ecosystem services such as pollination.

Nevertheless, birds provide hope. For most targets assessed, there are successes and positive trends for some aspects, species or locations:

Birds help people to develop an awareness of nature and the biodiversity crisis.

Data on birds are being used to mainstream biodiversity across sectors, such as for financial institutions and businesses to screen for biodiversity risks when planning projects and developments.

Birds and Biodiversity Targets (2020) by Birdlife
Birds and Biodiversity Targets (2020) by Birdlife 7

Reformed incentive systems such as agri-environment schemes have helped to slow or reverse bird population declines.

Unsustainable hunting practices are being eliminated through community conservation efforts in some locations.

Mitigation measures are reducing bycatch of seabirds in fisheries, while action to reduce pollution is benefiting many species.

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Birds and Biodiversity Targets (2020) by Birdlife 8

Over 160 native bird species have benefited from successful eradications of invasive species on islands, while biosecurity has saved at least one bird species from extinction.

Conservation efforts have prevented up to 18 bird species from going extinct since 2010, and have slowed the effective extinction rate of birds by at least 40%.

Conservation of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas typically benefits people as well as biodiversity.

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas worldwide contain 300 Gigatonnes of carbon, almost 9% of the world’s carbon stocks, so their conservation also contributes to climate change mitigation.

Read more about Bird and Biodiversity Areas in new tab

What is Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)

Citizen scientists are increasingly mobilising and sharing data on the occurrence and abundance of birds, enabling innovative approaches to their conservation.

These results also provide valuable insights for the development and implementation of goals and targets of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that is currently under negotiation through the CBD.

Birds point the way to a more effective and ‘smarter’ set of goals and targets, and provide a suite of metrics and indicators for measuring progress.

Birds also inform more effective implementation measures addressing enabling conditions such as reporting, verification, resourcing and international cooperation.

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