Knowledge production for target-based biodiversity governance

Journal Article (Review;Journal)

Target-based governance holds the promise of accountability by measuring progress towards objectives set within global environmental agreements. This approach has been widely adopted at multiple scales of governance in conservation and sustainability sectors including by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Yet the implications of governing through targets have not been fully scrutinized for the ways that targets and their associated indicators shape the work by global conventions, including the activities pursued by state and non-state actors. We systematically reviewed, coded and assessed the peer-reviewed scientific literature produced in relation to the CBD Aichi Biodiversity Targets (ABTs) to demonstrate the types of scientific action that the Aichi targets have motivated, and assess how this work serves to reinforce particular visions of what conservation is and how it should be done. We find widespread support for target-based governance in the scientific literature. We also find uneven attention across the targets (e.g. mostly the protected areas target), to particular elements within specific targets (e.g. the area-based element of the protected areas target), measured by particular forms of knowledge (i.e. primarily biophysical data aggregated at a global scale). We argue that the uneven scientific action associated with the ABTs arises from the interplay among target elements that can be readily measured (e.g. by existing single-metric indicators) and long-standing institutional commitments (e.g. to protected areas expansion). With the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework on the immediate horizon, there is a timely opportunity to reflect on the role of targets within the CBD and beyond.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hagerman, SM; Campbell, LM; Gray, NJ; Pelai, R

Published Date

  • March 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 255 /

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-3207

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.biocon.2021.108980

Citation Source

  • Scopus