• A quarter of all species are threatened with extinction, according to a new report by the UN.
  • The most at-risk species were amphibians, of which 41% are considered at risk, followed by sharks and conifers, at 37% and 34% respectively.
  • It stated that human activity is having a devastating impact on the environment, but that it is not too late to halt this trend and improve.
  • The report was conducted by the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Given that agricultural land is expanding at the expense of forests, marine stocks are being decimated by overfishing and coral reefs are getting clogged by plastic, it comes as no real surprise that plant and animal species are getting decimated. The UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) conducted one of the most comprehensive checks on the state of the planet ever recently and it found that human activity is having a devastating impact on the environment. The insatiable human thirst for food and energy is primarily to blame and that has caused nature to decline at a rate never previously seen.

The following infographic provides an overview of the species at risk of extinction as detailed in the latest update of the IUCN Red List of threatened species. With the largest share of assessed species, 41 percent of amphibians are considered at risk, followed by 37 percent of sharks and rays and 34 percent of conifers. The IPBES report did however state that it is not too late to halt this trend and improve the situation but that the picture is ominous. IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson, warned that “the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

a chart showing which species are most at risk of extinction
Amphibians face the biggest threat.
Image: Statista

What is the World Economic Forum doing about nature?

Biodiversity loss and climate change are occurring at unprecedented rates, threatening humanity’s very survival. Nature is in crisis, but there is hope. Investing in nature can not only increase our resilience to socioeconomic and environmental shocks, but it can help societies thrive.

There is strong recognition within the Forum that the future must be net-zero and nature-positive. The Nature Action Agenda initiative, within the Platform for Accelerating Nature-based Solutions, is an inclusive, multistakeholder movement catalysing economic action to halt biodiversity loss by 2030.

Dynamic and flourishing natural ecosystems are the foundation for human wellbeing and prosperity. The Future of Nature and Business report found that nature-positive transitions in key sectors are good for the economy and could generate up to $10.1 trillion in annual business value and create 395 million jobs by 2030.

To support these transitions, the Platform for Accelerating Nature-based Solutions has convened a community of Champions for Nature promoting the sustainable management of the planet for the good of the economy and society. The Nature Action Agenda also recently launched the 100 Million Farmers initiative, which will drive the transition of the food and agriculture system towards a regenerative model, as well as the BiodiverCities by 2030 initiative to create an urban development model that is in harmony with nature.

Get in touch if you would like to collaborate on these efforts or join one of our communities.