New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Chapter 1: Introduction
THIS BOOK The international community has awoken to the concern that much of the world’s biodiversity is under threat. In a relatively sudden display of concern, a series of goals and targets have been unveiled in an attempt to stop a problem which has been hundreds, if not thousands, of years in the making. Nevertheless, at its 83rd plenary meeting in 2007, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 2010 would be the International Year of Biodiversity.1 This was two years after the International Year of Planet Earth in 2008.2 The year of 2010 was also the year when the vast majority of nations of the planet had pledged to significantly reduce the current loss of biodiversity.3 Whilst the 2010 year and the 2010 targets were commendable, they failed to be achieved. Systematic reviews in 2010 showed that, although the rate of the loss of species and ecosystems had slowed in some areas, overall the target had not been met.4 The international community responded by setting new targets to be achieved by 2020, and invited the General Assembly to consider making the following ten years to be the decade of biodiversity.5 There are many reasons for this failure. My contention is that one part of the reason this is occurring is because decision makers and those giving advice are getting increasingly lost over what to do, and fail to see each issue in its wider context. This problem is amplified when dealing with difficulties whereby the solutions can only...