Population Connection Statement on COP15 Biodiversity Agreement

Written by Olivia Nater | Published:


The 190 countries that are parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD) reached a major agreement to conserve nature today. Population Connection welcomes the new Global Biodiversity Framework’s aim to protect 30% of all land and sea areas by 2030, but the agreement does not go far enough in addressing the root causes of biodiversity loss, including human population growth and unsustainable consumption.

According to a report published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) earlier this year, wild vertebrate populations declined by an average of 69% between 1970 and 2018. During that time, our human population more than doubled. Wild species make up only 4% of the biomass of mammals on Earth today — 36% is human and a staggering 60% is our livestock.

Our impact on the environment is a product of our numbers and our consumption habits, and it is encouraging that the new Framework calls for reducing overconsumption. However, it fails to make specific recommendations. Conversion of land to agriculture is the leading cause of habitat loss, which in turn is driven by a combination of growing populations, and high demand for animal products, especially in wealthy nations like the United States. Seventy-seven percent of agricultural land globally is used for rearing livestock.

We crossed the 8 billion population milestone just last month, and the latest UN data project our population will keep growing until well into the second half of this century, possibly peaking at 10.4 billion in the 2080s. This has dire implications for the diversity of life on Earth, especially the one million species that are already at risk of imminent extinction.

Population Connection President and CEO John Seager says,

“It is blindingly obvious that ever more humans means ever less nature and wildlife. The new Global Biodiversity Framework should have included increased funding for voluntary family planning and girls’ education — empowering, globally beneficial solutions that also happen to be the most effective way to stabilize our population and thereby reduce the pressure on our one-and-only planet.”

To meet the 30×30 target, restore 30% of degraded land, and end the extinction crisis, as agreed by the Framework’s signatories, it is essential that governments, the private sector, and society work together to tackle unsustainable population and consumption trends.


Contact Marian Starkey: mstarkey@popconnect.org | 202-974-7735