The 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity is meeting in Cancun, Mexico, 4 to 17 December 2016. By now individual countries should have drafted detailed plans to conserve their biodiversity, but only half have done so. And most plans set targets that fall short of 20 global benchmarks, such as halting habitat loss and saving endangered species. A fifth of countries have either made no progress since 2010, or have retreated from the global targets.
Populations of vertebrate animals — such as mammals, birds, and fish — have declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012.
The forces destroying biodiversity are huge.
Can we avoid a sixth mass extinction?