Nature and Biodiversity

World Wildlife Day: 8 essential reads on biodiversity from the Forum

World Wildlife Day ... marking the importance of biodiversity and nature.

World Wildlife Day ... marking the importance of biodiversity and nature. Image: Unsplash/Hans Veth

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Nature and Biodiversity

This article is part of: Centre for Nature and Climate

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  • It's World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2023.
  • Biodiversity loss is the fourth most severe threat we face in the next 10 years, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report 2023.
  • The following articles from the Forum provide insights into the benefits of biodiversity - and how we can reverse its rapid decline.

In his opening address to COP15 – the United Nations (UN) Biodiversity Conference in December 2022 – UN Secretary-General António Guterres explained that "without nature, we have nothing". He described how "the loss of nature and biodiversity comes with a steep human cost".

The World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report 2023 ranked biodiversity loss as the fourth most severe threat humanity will face in the next 10 years.

Businesses have a critical role to play in reversing this decline - which is outlined in the Forum and PwC China's whitepaper, The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and What it Means for Business.

To highlight the contribution that biodiversity makes to the lives of everyone on the planet, people around the world will be celebrating World Wildlife Day 2023 on 3 March. This year's theme is 'Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation'.

To mark this event, here are eight Forum articles to read on biodiversity that outline what's threatening biodiversity worldwide and how we can come together to reverse its decline.

1. Why is biodiversity so essential?

Biodiversity is "essential to the existence and proper functioning of all ecosystems," says the US Environmental Protection Agency. The diverse environment that biodiversity enables gives every species the ability to cope better with changes and stress in their natural environment, it says.

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What is the World Economic Forum doing about nature?

With more biodiversity comes a greater ability to fight off challenges like disease. For example, plant life helps filter impurities like metals from freshwater.

Learn more about the importance of biodiversity.

2. 50% of the global economy is under threat from biodiversity loss

More than 1 million species are now threatened with extinction, according to the UN. This decline is being fuelled by human activity, with research by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature showing that human activity in the fields of food production, infrastructure, energy and mining accounts for 79% of the impact on threatened species.

A graphic showing how human activity is destroying biodiversity.
Human systems for food, infrastructure and energy are destroying biodiversity. Image: WEF/IUCN

The Forum’s New Nature Economy Report II finds that "over half the world’s total GDP ... is potentially at risk as a result of the dependence of business on nature and its services”.

Find out how we can create a nature-positive economy.

3. COP15: What's next for historic deal to protect nature?

The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed at COP15, a significant breakthrough that commits participants to ensuring the protection of at least 30% of all land and oceans by 2030.

Read more about this historic deal.

4. Here’s why the list of the world’s most endangered species keeps growing

From deforestation to urban development, human activity is destroying the natural habitats of thousands of species around the world, driving a growing number of species closer to extinction.

A graphic showing how over 41,000 species are threatened with extinction. biodiversity World Wildlife Day
New species are being added to this list with alarming frequency. Image: IUCN

Find out what needs to be done to stop this rapid decline of biodiversity.

5. How the sixth extinction crisis can be stalled – or even stopped

Ben Lamm, CEO of Colossal Biosciences, argues that we can tackle the extinction crisis through de-extinction.

A chart showing how the number of endangered species has risen since 2007. biodiversity World Wildlife Day
The number of species under threat of extinction is rising.

By securing animal DNA, Lamm says, we could potentially bring back extinct species like the woolly mammoth through processes such as assisted breeding, cloning and genome editing and synthetic genomics.

Explore how de-extinction works and what it might be capable of.

6. 5 ways businesses can implement the new Global Biodiversity Framework

The Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) was signed by 196 parties in December 2022 at COP15. The framework committed all parties to halting biodiversity loss by 2030 across 23 targets for the conservation and sustainable use of nature.

To make the framework a success, businesses must play a key role in implementing it. From assessing their impacts on nature to collaborating with other businesses to make a positive impact, there are many ways companies can make a difference.

Find out what businesses need to be doing to implement the GBF.

7. How can the building materials sector tackle biodiversity loss?

As the global population increases, so does the demand for natural resources that are needed to create infrastructure such as roads and buildings. Quarries are a key source of building materials, but when poorly managed they can have a negative impact on biodiversity.

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Find out how the demand for building materials can be sustainably managed.

8. 5 nature-positive trends to watch out for in 2023

  • Urban environments will help restore nature and improve public health, through initiatives such as BiodiverCities by 2030.
  • Indigenous knowledge will help to guide conservation and restoration around the world.
  • Biodiversity credits will increasingly finance the nature-positive agenda.
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Learn more about the nature trends that will shape this year.

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