We, the Group on Earth Observation Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), have gathered scientists and practitioners from 25 countries, on the occasion of our 10th anniversary, in Beijing, to discuss the future of biodiversity monitoring globally. We call on the Parties to the CBD to significantly step up their efforts on the collection, analysis and delivery of biodiversity observations to advance the world towards the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.
Despite significant progress over the last decade in gathering biodiversity observations and on the development of indicators, numerous gaps and barriers remain. At the time of the mid-term assessment of progress towards the Aichi biodiversity targets for 2020, uncertainties remained in the evaluation of most of the targets. Repeated, long-term biodiversity observations are crucial to detect and understand changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services and for assessing current and future policy options through scenarios and models. Without a significant increase in the global investment in biodiversity monitoring, existing observation gaps will remain and continue to impair the assessment of policy goals as well as limit their effective implementation.
To achieve a step change in action, we propose that the post-2020 targets explicitly include the development of sustained operational national biodiversity observation networks. Such national monitoring systems would routinely collect in situ and remote sensing data in the terrestrial, marine, and freshwater realms; aggregate and publish the data into public repositories; model Essential Biodiversity Variables; report on indicators relevant to national biodiversity strategies and targets; and greatly facilitate policy implementation at a critical time for the world’s biodiversity. Developing such national biodiversity observation networks should be a priority in the post-2020 period and GEO BON stands ready to support these efforts.
Beijing, 13 July 2018