IPBES Report on Sustainable use of Wild Species

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    • A report released by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has stated that about 50,000 wild species globally can meet the needs of billions of people.

    Findings of the Report

    Billions of people in all regions of the world rely on and benefit from the use of wild species:

    • The use of wild species directly contributes to the well-being of billions of people globally on a day-to-day basis and is particularly important to people in vulnerable situations.
    • About 50,000 wild species are used for food, energy, medicine, material and other purposes through fishing, gathering, logging and terrestrial animal harvesting globally.
    • Gathering wild plants, fungi and algae takes place in both developed and developing countries worldwide. 
      • Such a practice is closely associated with cultural and subsistence practices and can also supply global markets.
    • Wild tree species are currently the major source for wood and wood products and will continue to be so in the coming decade.
    • The potential contributions from sustainable use of wild species to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals are substantial, but largely overlooked.

    Sustainable use of wild species is central to the identity and existence of many indigenous peoples and local communities:

    • Loss of opportunity to engage in sustainable use of wild species represents an existential threat to indigenous peoples and local communities.
    • Knowledge, practices and worldviews guide sustainable uses of wild species by many indigenous peoples and local communities.
    • Overexploitation has been identified as the main threat to wild species in marine ecosystems and the second greatest threat to those in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems

    Status and trends in the use of wild species:

    • Recent global estimates indicate that approximately 34% of marine wild fish stocks are overfished and 66% are fished within biological sustainable levels but this global picture displays strong heterogeneities
    • Unintentional bycatch of threatened and/or protected marine species is unsustainable for many populations including wild sea turtles, seabirds, sharks, rays, chimaeras, marine mammals and some bony fishes.
    • Trade in wild plants, algae and fungi for food, medicine, hygiene, energy, and ornamental use is increasing.
    • Large-bodied mammals are the most targeted species for subsistence and commercial hunting, as these animals provide more meat for consumption and sale to generate more economic benefits for hunters’ households.
    • Logging for energy is prevalent globally, but reliance on wood for heating and cooking is highest in developing countries.
    • Nature-based tourism is an important non-extractive practice and recreational use of wild species.

    Influence of multiple drivers on wild species:

    • Drivers such as landscape and seascape changes, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species impact the abundance and distribution of wild species, and can increase stress and challenges among the human communities who use them.
    • Climate change is an increasingly strong driver affecting sustainable use, creating many challenges.
    • Throughout the world, where people living in poverty rely on the use of wild species, environmental degradation and resource depletion threaten their livelihoods and well-being.
    • Inequitable distribution of costs and benefits from the use of wild species often undermines sustainability.
    • Gender is seldom taken into account in the governance of wild species, leading to inequities in the distribution of costs and benefits from their use.

    Levers to promote sustainable use of wild species:

    • Policy options that are inclusive and participatory will strengthen sustainable uses of wild species.
    • Policy options that recognize and support multiple forms of knowledge will enhance the sustainability of the use of wild species.
    • Policy instruments and tools will only be effective if they ensure fair and equitable distribution of costs and benefits from sustainable use of wild species.
    • Context-specific policies are needed to ensure the sustainable use of wild species.
    • Monitoring wild species and practices is crucial to prevent species decline.
    • Policy instruments that are aligned at international, national, regional and local levels, and that maintain coherence and consistency with existing international obligations and take into account customary rules and norms, will be more effective.

    Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) 

    • It is an independent intergovernmental body, established by member States in 2012.
    • It strengthens the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.