Friday, October 19, 2012

COP 11 biological diversity: Biodiversity campaigns needed to meet UN 2020 target on global biodiversity awareness

Hyderabad. “By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably” is the first ambitious target that the United Nations Convention (UN) on Biological Diversity Biodiversity Convention (CBD) has set together with governments around the world. The Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) estimates that a series of global biodiversity campaigns is required to achieve this ambition.

Based on research among 10,000 consumers in ten different countries UEBT estimates that without
additional measures, consumer knowledge of biodiversity will only reach about 30% by 2020. Governments will therefore need to launch a series of campaigns, much like the UN International Year of Biodiversity Campaign that was organised in 2010 by the UN.

In designing these campaigns the following is of interest:

• Young people have a higher understanding of biodiversity than older people: The ability to correctly define biodiversity is much higher for people under 30 years of age (28%) than for those of 30 to 44 (24%) and 45 and older (22%).

• Higher educated and higher income groups show best knowledge on biodiversity. With 39% correct definitions of biodiversity, participants with a high education level scored much higher than those with a medium (26%) or lower level of education (23%). Also, people in the higher income group knew much more (30% correct definitions) than those with a lower income (21%).

• Globally, the media is the most important source of biodiversity knowledge, with TV
programmes, newspapers and magazines on top of the list. Depending on the country however, the influence of certain sources varies considerably: In India, for example, schools are by far the most important source, while in the USA, respondents indicate that websites and blogs are almost as important as school and newspapers.

• Campaigns like the UN International Year of Biodiversity Campaign in 2010 can help increase awareness: Between early 2010 and early 2012, both the awareness (from 67% to 70%) as well as the correct definitions (from 38% to 43%) of biodiversity have risen. The successful International Year of Biodiversity ran throughout 2010.

These are some of the findings the Union for Ethical BioTrade presented during the UN Biodiversity
Summit in India this week, where governments discuss the progress on the 2020 targets of the CBD,
the so-called Aichi Targets, which were agreed upon in a UN biodiversity summit in Japan in 2010.

The annual UEBT Biodiversity Barometer provides information on evolving biodiversity awareness and
knowledge around the globe, with this year’s focus including India and seven other countries. It is used as one of the indicators for measuring progress towards meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Target 1.

“The UEBT Biodiversity Barometer results show the immense growth potential regarding biodiversity
awareness globally” says Rik Kutsch Lojenga, Executive Director of the Union for Ethical BioTrade. “The success of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity campaign is a good example of how global, regional and local initiatives can help raise biodiversity awareness and understanding. We believe regular campaigns like this are needed to achieve the 2020 Aichi Target Number 1, reaching global awareness of biodiversity.”

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