Countdown 2010

The 2010 Biodiversity Target

More than one decade after the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the recognition of biodiversity loss has gained high political profile both at global, national and regional levels. This has resulted in ambitious commitments for action by heads of states, initiated in 2001 in the European Union.

While at global level, the target is ‘to achieve a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss’, the one addressed at EU and pan-European level, is even more ambitious as to ‘halt the loss of biodiversity’. Important dates and events are:

At the European Level

June 2001: Gothenburg European Council

that biodiversity decline should be halted with the aim of reaching this objective by 2010 as set out in the 6th Environmental Action Programme

Presidency Conclusions of the EU Summit in Göteborg

At the Gothenburg Summit, the EU strategy for sustainable development has been on the programme - next to the enlargement of the European Union, the future of the Union, the Middle East peace process, developments in the Western Balkans and the situation on the Korean peninsula. The EU Heads of State committed themselves to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010, and make this a headline objective in the European Union Strategy for Sustainable Development.

July 2002: 6th Environment Action Programme

In July 2002, the European Community adopted the Sixth Environment Action Programme, which establishes the environmental priorities for the European Union for the next ten years. The objective given in the area of biodiversity is to protect and restore the structure and functioning of natural systems and halt the loss of biodiversity both in the European Union and on a global scale by 2010.

May 2004: Stakeholder Conference in Malahide

Following a major process initiated in 2003 for review of the EC Biodiversity Strategy and Biodiversity Action Plans, the Irish Presidency organised the Conference "Sustaining Livelihoods and Biodiversity: Attaining the 2010 Target in the European Biodiversity Strategy". The Conference resulted in a ‘Message from Malahide’ which provides a key input to assist the Commission in completing a Communication to the Council and Parliament by early 2005.

Further Developments in the EU Council

In June 2004 EU Environment Ministers and March 2005 EU Heads of State reconfirmed their commitment to the 2010 target during European Council meetings.

May 2006: EU launches Biodiversity Communication

On May 22nd, the European Commission adopted a communication setting an ambitious roadmap to halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010. It includes an EU Action plan with detailed responsibilities for EU institutions and Member States and specifies indicators to monitor progress. Two weeks later, the European Green Week focussed on the topic "Biodiversity is life!".

At the Pan-European Level

May 2003: The 5th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference

we commit to achieving the nine targets for halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010 through national efforts and regional cooperation

Ministerial Declaration, Environment for Europe 2003

The fifth Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” concluded on 23 May, in Kiev, Ukraine, which underlined the importance of the EfE process as a tool to promote environmental protection and sustainable development in the region. Environment Ministers and Heads of delegation from 51 countries in the UNECE region adopted a the Kiev Resolution on Biodiversity on their intention "halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010". Particularly, the matter concerns forests protection, management of regions of a high natural value in agrarian ecosystems, identification of the Pan-European Environmental Network and so on.

The Pan-European Landscape and Biodiversity Strategy

In 2004 and 2005, Countdown 2010 was endorsed by the Council for the Pan-European Landscape and Biodiversity Strategy (PEBLDS).


April 2002: Convention on Biological Diversity

Parties commit themselves to a more effective and coherent implementation of the three objectives of the Convention, to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth.

Decision VI/26 of the 6th Conference of the Parties

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is one of the achievements of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Convention is moreover the first international agreement to view biological diversity as a resource over which nation states have sovereign rights. Biological diversity has thus attained the same status as mineral and other natural resources. The objective of the Convention is the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

September 2002:
UN World Summit on Sustainable Development

the achievement by 2010 of a significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biological diversity ...

Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development

The World Summit on Sustainable Development organized by the tenth session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development was held from 26 August to 4 September 2002 in the South African Johannesburg. It endorsed in its Plan of Implementation the achievement by 2010 of a significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biodiversity. The Summit agreed on nineteen actions as a means of achieving this objective.

September 2005: UN World Summit

all States will fulfil commitments and significantly reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010...

2005 World Summit Outcome

The 2005 World Summit was held from 14-16 September 2005 in New York, USA. The summit discussed progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and a reform of the United Nations. It also reconfirmed State leaders commitment to sustainable development and the 2010 biodiversity target.

Other Processes

Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and the European Plant Conservation Strategy

The global targets for the year 2010 are as follows, and their terms and technical rationale are appended to the present Strategy...

Decision VI/9 of the 6th CBD Conference of the Parties

The Conference of the Parties adopted at its sixth meeting the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, including 16 outcome-oriented global targets for 2010. The ultimate and long-term objective of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation is to halt the current and continuing loss of plant diversity. The Strategy will provide a framework to facilitate harmony between existing initiatives aimed at plant conservation, to identify gaps where new initiatives are required, and to promote mobilization of the necessary resources. The reason for a strategy under the CBD is that setting meaningful targets is feasible since scientific understanding of at least higher plants, though incomplete, is better than for most other groups.

The European Plant Conservation Strategy

Planta Europa and the Council of Europe developed the European Plant Conservation Strategy (EPCS) to provide a framework for wild plant conservation in Europe in response to the decision.

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, signed in Bonn, Germany, on 23 June 1979, aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme, concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. Since the Convention's entry into force, its membership has grown steadily to include 90 Parties (as of 1 June 2005), among them over 30 European countries.

Europe is strongly represented in the Convention’s Agreements and Memoranda, which can be adapted to the requirements of particular regions. The development of models tailored according to the conservation needs throughout the migratory range is a unique capacity to CMS. The 8th Conference of the Parties, which will be held 20-25 November 2005, features the motto “on the move to 2010”, highlighting the crucial role CMS plays in helping countries achieve the 2010 goal.