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Limited progress has been made in tackling high-risk wildlife trade,
and deforestation and fragmentation, despite numerous interventions
attempting to address these issues.
Some governments and private sector actors are increasingly
committed to protecting terrestrial ecosystems and
biodiversity, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal
(SDG) 12 (Sustainable Production and Consumption) and
SDG 15 (Life on Land). However, the 2019 SDG Progress
Report noted that despite these initiatives, the overall trends
of land degradation and biodiversity loss are continuing at
an alarming rate.128 Similarly, the Progress Assessment of
the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) on ending
deforestation and restoring forestlands found "little evidence
that these goals are on track, and achieving the 2020 targets
is likely impossible".129
State-driven policies and regulations have taken
important steps in regulating land-use change but
have faced significant challenges with enforcement.
Several national governments have designated protected
areas in their countries, safeguarding these lands from
changes in use. Globally, 15 per cent of land area is currently
protected, falling just short of the 17 per cent target set
for 2020 by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
under the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.130 However, protection
varies significantly across key deforestation fronts, with
less than 5 per cent of land protected in New Guinea and
Liberia, compared to over 50 per cent in Venezuela.131
Effective management of protected areas also varies, as some
national or jurisdictional governments face challenges with
enforcement capacity and many protected and conserved
areas remain chronically underfunded. Fewer than 20 per
cent of countries have met their commitment to assess
the management of protected areas.132 Similarly, although
indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) own
around 50 per cent of the world's land, governments only
legally recognize around 10 per cent, meaning that these
communities do not have representation in environmental
decision-making. This failure to recognize IPLC rights
reduces the essential role that they can play in protecting this
land from deforestation and fragmentation.133
With regard to wildlife trade, most countries
have regulations to ensure the safety and hygiene
of legal trade but monitoring and enforcement
remains an issue. Customs and trade bureaus struggle
to identify wildlife subject to trade controls, and there is
a lack of accountability for those violating trade laws and
safety regulations.134 Further, in the absence of effective


enforcement, illegal trade may increase. A ban on live
poultry exports from Thailand following the avian influenza
H5N1 virus led to the growth of illegal poultry trade which
contributed to the rapid spread of the disease in unregulated
Cambodian markets.135
The business sector has increasingly supported
market-based initiatives, such as voluntary company
actions, but significant scale and impact are lacking.
Market-based approaches include voluntary commitments to
improve supply chains (e.g., environmental assurance systems,
certification systems, traceability and monitoring of suppliers),
as well as monetary incentives for conservation outcomes (e.g.,
payment for environmental services schemes and sustainable
finance). The adoption of voluntary commitments, particularly
certification schemes, is growing among supply chain actors,
but overall is still small scale, particularly for companies
sourcing cattle or soy.136 As of May 2019, 481 companies have
made 850 commitments to address deforestation in their
supply chains, but only a small proportion of those exposed
to soy or beef have made a commitment.137 Commitments
are concentrated among consumer-facing businesses, while
upstream actors face lower incentives to participate. Market
segmentation allows buyers to focus on supply chain actors
with no environmental commitments. Even well-intentioned
companies and investors may find it difficult to monitor their
suppliers and investments, given lengthy supply chains and
multiple levels of aggregation of products. As a result, the
NYDF Progress Assessment noted in 2019 that "the private
sector is not on track to eliminate deforestation from
agricultural production." 138
Finally, there is a lack of global coordination and
no accountability mechanisms to address the
environmental drivers of pandemics. The REDD+139
scheme is one of the most prominent examples of an
international framework, aimed at reducing emissions of
greenhouse gases through avoided deforestation, forest
conservation or sustainable forest management. Many
countries have integrated their REDD+ strategies within their
nationally determined contributions, or their stated efforts
to reduce national emissions.140 However, investments in
stopping deforestation in tropical countries comprise less
than 1.5 per cent of the support committed by multilateral
institutions and developed country donors since 2010
(only US$3.2 billion out of US$256 billion). Similarly,


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