The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is important for primate conservation as it is the key international agreement (fairly widely embraced) to “protect” all species in their native habitats. The objectives of the CBD do not solely revolve around protection (in the sense of non-use of organisms), of course, and in fact sustainable use provides the foundation for the Convention (to its detriment, as I explored in my thesis). As noted on the CBD website, the three primary objectives are:
- The conservation of biological diversity
- The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources
Despite efforts driven by CBD-style conservation, the situation for species around the world has not improved. The CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 – 2020 explains this (COP 10 Decision X/2):
“The 2010 biodiversity target has not been achieved, at least not at the global level. The diversity of genes, species and ecosystems continues to decline, as the pressures on biodiversity remain constant or increase in intensity mainly, as a result of human actions.
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, a wide range of services derived from ecosystems, underpinned by biodiversity, could rapidly be lost. While the harshest impacts will fall on the poor, thereby undermining efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, no-one will be immune from the impacts of the loss of biodiversity.”
The CBD Conference of Parties 11, which took place in October 2012, launched a report listing the 25 most endangered primates, a report drawn up by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN article, Primates in Peril, introduces the full IUCN report and explains key threats to primates as deforestation, illegal wildlife trade and hunting for commercial bush meat. The IUCN Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group website is an excellent resource for getting to grips with primate conservation efforts (they contributed to the IUCN report launched by the CBD) – the group states that one in every four species of primate is threatened or endangered.