Conservation, Biodiversity and International Law

Conservation, Biodiversity and International Law

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Alexander Gillespie

This important and timely book provides a rigorous overview of the defining issues presently facing conservation at international level. The author provides detailed coverage of topics ranging from the classification of species right through to access and benefit sharing, drawing on his personal experience at intergovernmental level. Each question is examined through the prism of dozens of treaties and hundreds of decisions and resolutions of the key multilateral regimes, and the law in each area is supplemented by the necessary considerations of science, politics and philosophy – providing much-needed context for the reader.

Chapter 3: Extinct and Endangered

Alexander Gillespie

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, public international law


1. INTRODUCTION The purpose of this chapter is to examine the idea of endangered and extinct species. This is done in two parts. The first half of this chapter looks at extinction and extinction rates at the generic level so that the overall trend of extinction can be shown. The second half of the chapter focuses upon some of the species which make up the overall figure by examining the level of extinction and endangerment for most of the species which are of importance in international conservation law. A The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Assessments which have attempted to provide an ‘overall’ picture of the status of biodiversity have been facilitated by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) since the mid 1990s. To date, three Global Biodiversity Outlooks have been created. The 2010 Biodiversity Outlook 3 concluded: The target agreed by the world’s Governments in 2002, ‘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’ has not been met.1 Following through from this conclusion, the Parties to the CBD meeting in Nagoya in 2010 added: Scientific consensus projects a continuing loss of habitats and high rates of extinctions throughout this century if current trends persist, with the risk of drastic consequences to human societies as several thresholds or ‘tipping points’ are crossed. Unless urgent action is taken to reverse current trends,...

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