Biodiversity has been declining at disturbing rates due to human activity. Plants and animals are disappearing because of pollution and climate change. “Biodiversity is traditionally defined as the variety of life on Earth in all its forms. It comprises the number of species, their genetic variation and the interaction of these lifeforms within complex ecosystems” ("Biodiversity loss"). According to a United Nation (UN) report that was published in 2019, one out of eight million species are expected to face extinction within the coming decades. Scientists claim that we are currently in the process of experiencing the sixth mass extinction in earth’s history due to such a rapid disappearance of so many species. The previous major mass extinctions being the Ordovician-Silurian extinction 440 million years ago, the Devonian extinction 365 million years ago, the Permian-triassic extinction 250 million years ago, the Triassic-jurassic extinction 210 million years ago and the Cretaceous-tertiary extinction 65 million years ago ("Mass Extinction"). This highlights the necessity, now more than ever, for immediate change and action to be taken ("Biodiversity loss").
Ecosystems which were once thriving with multiple living organisms are now facing massive threats. Deforestation, urbanization, hunting, over-fishing, climate change, pollution and invasive species all are factors which are leading to a massive wipeout. One that would take millions of years for ecosystems to recover. Wildlife populations have already fallen by 69% between the years 1970 and 2018. Research done by the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) states that more than 41,000 species are being threatened out of 147,500, which is an alarming number that will only be increasing unless change is implemented (Greenfield).
The disappearance of only one species could have a major impact on the food chain, so the extinction of many and the vast impact it would have on the human population is truly unpredictable, as humans thrive on nature.
The European Commission has been making efforts to preserve wildlife, with the European Union Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, in hope to ensure that by 2050, ecosystems and natural habitats will be restored and thriving. Action was also taken at a UN biodiversity conference, which brought together parties to discuss how to improve on sustaining these goals and implementing policies on biodiversity.
The decline has been most present in the most biodiverse regions in the world, Latin America, and the Caribbean, where there has been an alarming drop of 94% in the average wildlife population (Greenfield). The main factor that contributed to this has been said to be habitat degradation and loss. Scientists have also spotted 36 biodiversity hotspots, which are rich in life, but threatened by human behavior and require high protection. This includes the Sundaland, the Caucasus, Wallacea and eastern Australian forests (Greenfield).
The World Wildlife Fund, also known as the world’s leading conservation organization, has been active for 60 years, working to protect communities, wildlife, and habitats, along with the natural resources they are dependent on. They have made numerous policies and transformations towards sustainability and restoring species ("ABOUT US"). This includes making the United States one of the countries with the most efforts to conserve international species, as well as eliminate wildlife trafficking. Species like the Iberian Lynx and Puerto Rican amazon parrot are only some of 48 species that the World Wildlife Fund has already been saved from extinction. They have also worked to create the Multinational Species Conservation Funds which protects a variety of species. Other organizations such as the IUCN green status have been planning paths of recovery for plants and animals who are being threatened.
The IMUN debate will continue to work on creating a successful resolution in order to solve the issue of the conservation of areas with high biodiversity.
"ABOUT US." World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/about#:~:text=WWF%20works%20to%20help%20local,local%20to%20a%20global%20scale. Accessed 5 Oct. 2023.
"Biodiversity loss: what is causing it and why is it a concern?" European Parliament, 9 June 2021, www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20200109STO69929/biodiversity-loss-what-is-causing-it-and-why-is-it-a-concern. Accessed 5 Oct. 2023.
Greenfield, Patrick. "The biodiversity crisis in numbers - a visual guide." The Guardian, 6 Dec. 2022, www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/06/the-biodiversity-crisis-in-numbers-a-visual-guide-aoe. Accessed 5 Oct. 2023.
Knapp, Sarah. "Biodiversity." Edited by BD Editors. Biology Dictionary, 27 Oct.
2020. Accessed 8 Nov. 2023.
"Mass Extinction Events." American Museum of Natural History, www.amnh.org/exhibitions/dinosaurs-ancient-fossils/extinction/mass-extinction. Accessed 2 Nov. 2023.