•WWF-Kenya CEO Mohamed Awer said: “When we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the very system that supports our lives.”
•The report shows an average 68 per cent decrease in population sizes of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish between 1970 and 2016.
The global population of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish has declined by two-thirds in less than 50 years.
This is largely due to environmental destruction, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Living Planet Report 2020, released on Thursday.
The report presents a comprehensive overview of the state of the natural world through the Living Planet Index – an indicator of the health of the planet.
It shows an average 68 per cent decrease in population sizes of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish between 1970 and 2016.
WWF-Kenya CEO Mohamed Awer said: “When we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the very system that supports our lives.”
He added: “The urgency to bend the curve of biodiversity loss has never been greater. We need to take coordinated action, reduce our footprint on the planet and ultimately hand over the earth to future generations in a better state. A call for all - governments, businesses and citizens.”
The report shows that factors believed to increase the planet’s vulnerability to pandemics - including land-use change and the use and trade of wildlife - were also some of the drivers behind the decline.
Wildlife populations found in freshwater habitats have suffered the greatest decline of 84 per cent - the starkest average population decline in any biome, equivalent to four per cent loss per year since 1970.
The report further underscores how humanity’s increasing destruction of nature is having catastrophic impacts not only on wildlife populations but also on human health and all aspects of our lives.
The report also includes pioneering modelling which shows that without further efforts to counteract habitat loss and degradation, global biodiversity will continue to decline.
It further indicates that if the world carries on with ‘business as usual’, rates of biodiversity loss seen since 1970 will continue over the coming years.
It also says that implementing measures together to bend the curve of biodiversity loss rather than in isolation will allow the world to more rapidly alleviate pressures on nature.
The report launches less than a week before the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) when leaders are expected to review the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and also a few weeks to the first-ever UN Summit on Biodiversity, to be attended by over 80 Heads of States.
The world leaders will gather virtually for the UN General Assembly from 15 September.