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COVID-19 TOTAL DAILY
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PARIS: Countries are set to miss all of the targets they set themselves a decade ago to preserve nature and save Earth's vital biodiversity, the United Nations said Tuesday. Humanity's impact on the natural world over the last five decades has been nothing short of cataclysmic: since 1970 close to 70 percent of wild animals, birds and fish have vanished, according to a WWF assessment this month.

Last year the UN's panel on biodiversity, called IPBES, warned that one million species face extinction as man-made activity has already severely degraded three quarters of land on Earth.

In 2010, 190 member states of the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity committed to a battle plan to limit the damage inflicted on the natural world by 2020. The 20 objectives range from phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and limiting habitat loss to protecting fish stocks. But in its latest Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO), released Tuesday, the UN said not one of these goals would be met.

"We are currently, in a systematic manner, exterminating all non-human living beings," Anne Larigauderie, IPBES executive secretary, told AFP. Ahead of the UN General Assembly and a crucial year of diplomacy for nature and the climate, the assessment found none of the biodiversity targets would be fully met, "undermining efforts to address climate change".

The coronavirus pandemic has scuppered plans for two huge biodiversity summits this year, with the COP15 negotiations and International Union for Conservation of Nature's global congress - both of which aim at boosting international nature preservation efforts - pushed back to 2021. Larigauderie said the global health crisis should serve as a wake-up call to world leaders. "We're collectively better understanding that this crisis is linked to everything we wish to discuss at COP15" talks in China, she said.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, told AFP that societies were waking up to the importance of nature. "The situation with Covid has demonstrated very clearly that deforestation, human encroachment into the wild... has an impact on our day to day lives," she said. "The public has realised that the most dangerous species is us, human beings, and that they themselves need to play a role and put pressure on industry to change."

The assessment lays out pathways to reverse nature loss during the decade to 2030, including sweeping changes to our farming system and reductions in food waste and over consumption.

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