On 8 July 2022, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) launched the Sustainable Use of Wild Species Assessment Report, the latest scientific report on the sustainable use of wild species, which millions of us rely on. The report was approved by 139 member States at the 9th IPBES Plenary, taking place in Bonn, Germany from 3 to 9 July.
The report examines options for the sustainable use of wild species ranging from algae, fungi, animals and plants around the world, on land, in freshwater and in the oceans. It reminds us of a few key numbers:
- 1 in 5 people rely on wild species for income and food
- Over 10,000 wild species are being harvested for human food
- 2.4 billion people (that’s 1 in 3) depend on fuel wood for cooking
The IPBES Assessment Report on the Sustainable Use of Wild Species is the result of four years of work by 85 leading experts from the natural and social sciences, and holders of indigenous and local knowledge, as well as 200 contributing authors, drawing on more than 6,200 sources. Among these authors are a number of experts from Biodiversa-funded projects.
The Report reviews the past trends, current situation, and future scenarios for wild species and aims to inform on policy options and enabling conditions for sustainable use from national to global scales. It identifies five broad categories of ‘practices’ in the use of wild species: fishing; gathering; logging; terrestrial animal harvesting (including hunting); and non-extractive practices, such as observing. For each practice, it then examines specific ‘uses’ such as for food and feed; materials; medicine, energy; recreation; ceremony; learning and decoration – providing a detailed analysis of the trends in each, over the past 20 years. In most cases, use of wild species has increased, but sustainability of use has varied, such as in gathering for medicine and logging for materials and energy.
The report adresses the following elements:
- Five categories of use of wild species: fishing, gathering, logging, terrestrial animal harvesting (such as shearing and hunting) and observing
- What ‘sustainable use’ entails and how it relates to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
- Tools and methods for assessing, measuring, and managing the sustainable use of wild species
- Effectiveness of policy options to better govern the sustainable use of wild species
- Drivers of sustainability, i.e. governance, trade, and incentives
- Importance of sustainable use of wild species
- Links between sustainable use of wild species and challenges such as land use and climate change
- Gaps that should be closed in both data and knowledge to enhance the sustainable use of wild species
The IPBES Plenary will also approve the “Assessment Report on the Diverse Conceptualization of the Multiple Values of Nature and its Benefits” (media launch of Report, and associated press release, are scheduled on Monday, 11 July 2022) as well as the start of a new IPBES assessment on the links between business and biodiversity.