Montreal 24 August 2011. The Society for Ecological Restoration has conferred its 2011 Special Recognition Award to the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the Gala Awards Banquet on 23 August 2011 in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, on the margins of the 4th World Conference on Ecological Restoration.
The award recognizes the extraordinary commitment shown by the 193 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020, inter alia, through reducing pressures on biodiversity and restoring ecosystems, by adopting the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, at its tenth meeting held in Nagoya, Japan in 2010, adopted the new Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 containing 20 headline targets. Under Targets 14 and 15, Parties have agreed that by 2020, they would restore ecosystems of particular importance to water security, human health, livelihoods and well-being and enhance ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks, through conservation and restoration. This target includes the restoration of at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems.
It is estimated that ecosystems deliver essential services worth between $21 trillion and up to $72 trillion a year, comparable to the 2008 World Gross National Income of $58 trillion. Yet in 2010, nearly two-thirds of the globe’s ecosystems were considered degraded as a result of damage and mismanagement and a failure to invest and reinvest in their productivity, health and sustainability. Thus restoration of degraded ecosystems is highly important for realizing the vision of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 “living in harmony with nature”, and for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.