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Global Species Action Plan: a guide to restore and preserve global biodiversity

With 28% of all species assessed on the IUCN Red List at risk of extinction[1], the urgency to halt global biodiversity loss is significant. In an effort to turn the tide for the world’s species populations, IUCN developed the Global Species Action Plan[2] together with IUCN members. The plan sets out a transformative path for countries to implement actions to mitigate species decline.

According to the IPBES report[3], vertebrate species populations have declined, with reductions of 40 percent for terrestrial species, 74 percent for freshwater species and 35 percent for marine species, since 1970. At the same time 75% of Earth’s land surface has been significantly altered and 66% of the oceans have seen cumulative impact. Conserving the diversity of species on earth is vital to the future of all life on earth. Firstly because these species have an intrinsic value as beautiful sentient beings from which we can learn so much. Secondly, because these species are all closely connected in the web of life, of which humans are also part. Their diversity creates resilient ecosystems, which are critical for food and water security, and for addressing the climate crisis.

A guide to restore and preserve species

The Global Species Action Plan (GSAP) is a guide to the actions needed to conserve animals, fungi and plants, for example through including species data in spatial planning, and allowing animals to migrate through wildlife corridors. It also highlights the importance of regenerative agriculture, aquaculture and forestry, as well as the need to minimise the impact of climate change through mitigation and adaptation.    

The plan will guide countries through the key interventions and actions needed to achieve the Global Biodiversity Framework, agreed at the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal. It sets out a framework for actors from governments, businesses, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, Indigenous and local communities to take action to achieve the targets, based on national capacity and circumstances.

The GSAP is closely tied to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework goals and targets, providing a species rationale and species-relevant actions for each of the 23 global targets. The GSAP will be open access and available to all on an online knowledge platform, providing tools and resources available to support efforts.

Importance for Dutch nature

IUCN NL’s expert on nature conservation Sander van Andel highlights the importance of the GSAP to halt species decline in the Dutch context. ‘The Netherlands has created Red Lists to indicate the threat levels for 18 groups of species[4] Among the seven groups that have been most thoroughly studied[5], 40% of the 1771 species are included on the Red List. Breeding birds, amphibians, reptiles and butterflies face a higher threat level, whereas mammals, dragonflies, and vascular plants are less threatened[6] The Global Species Action Plan can be of help to policymakers in the Netherlands, to take concrete steps towards biodiversity protection and on nature restoration.’

Want to learn more?

Sander van Andel
Senior Expert Nature Conservation