Forests And Biodiversity Worldwide
Forests hold about 80% of the earth’s biodiversity on the planet. Of these, tropical ecosystems cover about 7% of the earth’s surface, but maintain at least half of terrestrial plant and animal species, many of which have not yet been discovered by science.
Forests play an essential role in the water cycle, soil conservation, carbon sequestration and habitat protection.
Of the 8,300 known species of animals, 8 percent are already extinct and another 22 percent are at risk of disappearing.
Deforestation And Loss Of Biodiversity
Forests are essential for our future. More than 1,600 million people depend on them for food, water, fuel, medicines, traditional cultures and livelihoods. Forests play a vital role in safeguarding the climate through natural carbon sequestration. However, each year an average of 13 million hectares of forest disappears, which, worldwide, represents 17.4% of the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions.
In tropical and subtropical countries, large-scale commercial agriculture and subsistence agriculture accounted for 73% of deforestation, with significant variations according to the region. For example, commercial agriculture originated almost 70% of deforestation in Latin America, but only one third in Africa, where small-scale agriculture is a more significant factor.
Causes Of The Loss Of Biodiversity
In the last global report of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Secretariat CBD, 2014) it is concluded that one of the main causes of biodiversity loss is given by the pressures linked to agriculture, which encompass 70% of the estimated loss of biodiversity land. The conversion of forests for the production of basic products, such as soybeans, palm oil, meat and paper, infrastructure development, urban expansion, energy, mining, oil exploitation, large dams and logging also threaten deforestation, with large-scale logging being one of the most significant worldwide.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers threatened 36% of the 48,000 species evaluated until 2010 and the Living Planet Index (WWF-UNEP), which synthesizes the evolution of 5000 populations of 1,700 vertebrate species in all the world, recorded an average decline of 40% in the last 30 years (2013).
- Declaración de Nueva York sobre los bosques y la agenda de acción de la ONU declaración sobre los bosques de la Cumbre del clima de Nueva York 2015
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) (PNUD)
The 2030 agenda on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Objectives, is a universal call for action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 Objectives are based on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, although they include new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption and peace and justice, among other priorities. The Objectives are interrelated, often the key to one’s success will involve the issues most frequently linked to another.
Eradicating poverty in all its forms continues to be one of the main challenges facing humanity. While the number of people living in extreme poverty decreased by more than half between 1990 and 2015 (from 1,900 million to 836 million), still too many struggle to meet the most basic needs. Worldwide, more than 800 million people still live on less than US $1.25 a day and many lack access to adequate food, water and sanitation. The accelerated economic growth of countries like China and India has lifted millions of people out of poverty, but progress has been uneven. The possibility of women living in poverty is disproportionately high in relation to men, due to unequal access to paid work, education and property.
End all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030 and ensure access for all people. Extreme hunger and malnutrition remain major obstacles to the development of many countries. An estimated 795 million people suffered from chronic malnutrition in 2014, often as a direct result of environmental degradation, drought and loss of biodiversity. More than 90 million children under the age of five are dangerously underweight and one in four people go hungry in Africa.
The objective is to achieve universal health coverage and to provide safe and affordable medicines and vaccines for all. An essential part of this process is to support the research and development of vaccines. Despite these remarkable advances, every year more than 6 million children die before the age of five and 16,000 children die every day due to preventable diseases, such as measles and tuberculosis. Every day, hundreds of women die during pregnancy or childbirth and in rural areas only 56 percent of births are attended by trained professionals. AIDS is now the leading cause of death among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, a region that continues to suffer the ravages of this disease.
The objective of achieving an inclusive and quality education for all is based on the firm conviction that education is one of the most powerful and proven engines to guarantee sustainable development. To this end, the objective is to ensure that all girls and boys complete their free primary and secondary education by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable technical training and eliminate gender and income disparities, in addition to achieving universal access to quality higher education. Since 2000 there has been enormous progress in the goal of universal primary education. The total enrollment rate reached 91% in the developing regions in 2015 and the number of children who do not attend school fell by almost half worldwide. There have also been significant increases in literacy rates and more girls than ever before today attending school.
Guaranteeing universal access to reproductive and sexual health and granting women equal rights in access to economic resources, such as land and property, are fundamental goals to achieve this goal. Today more women than ever hold public office, but encouraging more women to become leaders in all regions will help strengthen policies and laws aimed at achieving greater gender equality.
In order to guarantee universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030, it is necessary to make adequate investments in infrastructure, provide sanitary facilities and promote hygiene practices at all levels. Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of the world’s population, an alarming number that is likely to grow with the increase in global temperatures due to climate change. Although 2.1 billion people have gained access to better water and sanitation conditions since 1990, the declining availability of quality drinking water is a major problem that afflicts all continents.
Expanding infrastructure and improving technology for clean energy in all developing countries is a crucial objective that can stimulate growth while helping the environment. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people with access to electricity increased by 1,700 million. However, along with the growth of the world population, so will the demand for affordable energy. The global economy dependent on fossil fuels and the increase of greenhouse gas emissions are generating drastic changes in our climate system, and these consequences have had an impact on each continent.
The Sustainable Development Goals aim to stimulate sustainable economic growth by increasing levels of productivity and technological innovation. Promoting policies that stimulate entrepreneurship and job creation is crucial for this purpose, as well as effective measures to eradicate forced labor, slavery and human trafficking. With these goals in mind, the goal is to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all men and women by 2030. Over the past 25 years, the number of workers living in conditions of extreme poverty has drastically decreased, despite the impact of the 2008 economic crisis and global recessions. In developing countries, the middle class today represents more than 34% of total employment, a figure that almost tripled between 1991 and 2015.
Reducing this digital divide is crucial to guarantee equal access to information and knowledge, and promote innovation and entrepreneurship. Investment in infrastructure and innovation are fundamental drivers of growth and economic development. With more than half of the world’s population living in cities, mass transit and renewable energy are increasingly important, as well as the growth of new industries and information and communication technologies. More than 4,000 million people still do not have access to the Internet and 90 percent come from the developing world.
Unequal income is a global problem that requires global solutions. These include improving regulation and control of markets and financial institutions and encouraging development assistance and foreign direct investment for regions that need it most. Another key factor to bridge this gap is to facilitate migration and safe mobility of people. Inequality is increasing and the richest 10 percent of the population stays with up to 40 percent of the total world income. In turn, the poorest 10 percent get only between 2 and 7 percent of total income. In developing countries, inequality has increased by 11 percent, considering the population increase.
Improving the safety and sustainability of cities implies guaranteeing access to safe and affordable housing and the improvement of marginal settlements. It also includes making investments in public transport, creating green public areas and improving urban planning and management so that it is participatory and inclusive. More than half of the world’s population lives today in urban areas. In 2050, that number will have increased to 6,500 million people, two thirds of humanity. It is not possible to achieve sustainable development without radically transforming the way we build and manage urban spaces. The rapid growth of cities in the developing world, together with the increase in migration from the countryside to the city, has led to an explosive increase in mega cities. In 1990, there were 10 cities with more than 10 million inhabitants in the world. In 2014, the figure had increased to 28, where a total of about 453 million people live.
The consumption of a large proportion of the world’s population is still insufficient to satisfy even their basic needs. In this context, it is important to halve the per capita food waste in the world at the retail and consumer level to create more efficient production and supply chains. This can contribute to food security and lead us to an economy that uses resources more efficiently. To achieve economic growth and sustainable development, it is urgent to reduce the ecological footprint by changing the methods of production and consumption of goods and resources. Agriculture is the main consumer of water in the world and irrigation represents today almost 70 percent of all fresh water available for human consumption.
Support the most vulnerable regions – such as landlocked countries and island states – to adapt to climate change, must go hand in hand with efforts to integrate disaster risk reduction measures in national policies and strategies. With political will and a wide range of technological measures, it is still possible to limit the increase in global average temperature to 2 ° C with respect to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, urgent collective actions are required. The average annual losses caused only by earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and floods reach hundreds of billions of dollars and require investments of about US $ 6,000 million annually only in disaster risk management. The objective at the level of climate action is to mobilize US $ 100 billion annually until 2020, in order to address the needs of developing countries and help mitigate climate-related disasters.
The Sustainable Development Goals generate a framework to order and sustainably protect marine and coastal ecosystems from terrestrial pollution, as well as to address the impacts of ocean acidification. Improving the conservation and sustainable use of ocean resources through international law will also help mitigate some of the challenges facing the oceans. The livelihoods of more than 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity. However, 30 percent of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited, reaching a level well below that needed to produce a sustainable yield. The oceans also absorb about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide generated by human activities and there has been a 26 percent increase in the acidification of the seas since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Marine pollution, which comes mostly from land-based sources, has reached alarming levels: for every square kilometer of ocean there is an average of 13,000 pieces of plastic waste.
Protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, stop and reverse land degradation and stop the loss of biodiversity “. The current land degradation is unprecedented and the loss of arable land is 30 to 35 times higher than the historical rate. Droughts and desertification also increase every year; their losses amount to 12 million hectares and affect poor communities around the world. Of the 8,300 known species of animals, 8 percent are already extinct and another 22 percent are at risk of disappearing.
The Sustainable Development Goals seek to substantially reduce all forms of violence and work with governments and communities to find durable solutions to conflicts and insecurity. The strengthening of the rule of law and the promotion of human rights is fundamental in this process, as well as reducing the flow of illicit arms and consolidating the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance.
The Sustainable Development Goals can only be achieved with a determined commitment to global partnerships and cooperation. Although official assistance for the development of developed economies increased by 66 percent between 2000 and 2014, humanitarian crises caused by conflicts or natural disasters continue to demand more resources and financial aid. Many countries also require this assistance to stimulate growth and commercial exchange. Today the world is more interconnected than ever. Improving access to technology and knowledge is an important way to exchange ideas and foster innovation. To achieve sustainable growth and development, it is vital that policies be coordinated to help developing countries manage their debt and to promote investment for the least developed. The purpose of the objectives is to improve North-South and South-South cooperation, supporting national plans in the fulfillment of all goals. Promoting international trade and helping developing countries to increase their exports is part of the challenge of achieving an equitable and rule-based universal trading system that is fair, open and benefits everyone.
Costa Rica is important internationally in terms of its biodiversity because in a relatively small territory it harbors a great wealth of species approximately 3.6% of the biodiversity expected for the planet (between 13 and 14 million species). The country has an approximate record of 95,157 of known species by 2015, that is, approximately 5% of the biodiversity that is known worldwide (about two million species known to the year 2005) (National Biodiversity Strategy 2016 – 2025).
However, there are multiple signals and reports that this biodiversity is being lost and deteriorating; For example, the “Red List” of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) registered a growth of 12.9% in the number of threatened species between 2011 and 2014 (SINAC, 2014 and PEN, 2015).
In more rural landscapes, the most prominent habitat transformation took place in the middle of the last century, especially in the livestock landscape. In recent decades, the country has recovered its forest cover to reach 53% nationally in 2014; a landmark of Costa Rica worldwide; however, in some cases it has become more intensive agricultural practices in terms of the use of agrochemicals and net coverage of some wetlands, particularly mangroves, has been lost due to agricultural transformation.
Territorial management: The way in which land is managed and managed is key to understanding environmental performance. The patterns observed today in the country compromise sustainability: in the last international measurement of the ecological footprint (Global Footprint Network, 2017, with data from 2013) Costa Rica shows a 62.1% gap between the use of its population makes of the resources, and the capacity of the territory to provide them and replace them, that gap is evident in two aspects: Urban growth and agricultural land use.
Water Resources: The Minae Water Authority estimates that the availability of fresh water in the country is 103,120 million cubic meters per year, of which, in 2016, 12,436 million were extracted for all uses, 98.6% were from superficial sources and 1.4% of the subsoil.