Nature declining at an unprecedented rate according to IPBES Global Assessment Report

09 May 2019

Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Changes in land and sea use is the most significant direct driver of nature decline

The report found that three quarters of the land-based environment has been significantly altered by human actions. More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75% of freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock production. The report calls for more sustainable management of both the supply/producer and demand/consumer sides of food systems.

On average these trends have been less severe or avoided in areas held or managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

Nature, climate change and public health are interdependent

Nature provides a broad diversity of nutritious foods, medicines and clean water. The report states that deterioration of nature has direct and indirect implications for public health and can exacerbate existing health inequalities.

The report suggests that actions such as avoiding food waste, facilitating healthy and sustainable dietary choices and good agricultural management can simultaneously achieve food security, biodiversity protection and sustainable use.

Soil Association explore these links in this article.

City-level efforts can contribute to overall solutions

The report states integrated city-specific planning, nature-based solutions and responsible production and consumption can all contribute to sustainable and equitable cities. Integrating cross-sectoral planning at the local and regional levels is important, as is involving diverse stakeholders.

The IPBES Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers can be downloaded here. 


Leon Ballin
Sustainable Food Cities

Sustainable Food Cities is a partnership programme run by

Soil Association

Food Matters

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation 

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