Living Planet Report | WWF Hong Kong

Newly threshed rice, Philippines 
© Jürgen Freund / WWF

Living Planet Report 2020

Unsustainable human activity continues to accelerate biodiversity loss, pushing the planet’s natural systems to the brink. The latest Living Planet Index shows that global populations of vertebrate species have declined by an average of 68% since 1970. In short: nature – our life support system – is declining at a staggering rate.
The Living Planet Report is one of the longest-running efforts to track the state of our living world and the latest findings are an urgent call for action to avoid a catastrophic loss of the Earth’s biodiversity. Biodiversity loss is not just a conservation issue but is strongly linked to the wellbeing of our societies and economies.
This edition of the Living Planet Report highlights that freshwater biodiversity is declining at a far faster rate than in oceans or on land. Nearly 90% of global wetlands have been lost since 1700 and are still being destroyed three times faster than forests. More than 80% of East and Southeast Asia’s wetlands are classified as threatened due to human activity.

In the Pearl River Delta, most wetlands are now converted to other uses, with very few scattered natural patches remaining. For example, over 50% of urban land has been reclaimed from wetlands.
We can no longer afford to allow our ecosystem to continue to decline. It’s time for our community to work together to reverse nature loss. That means businesses adopting measures to lower their carbon footprint; institutional investors putting money into sustainable projects; supporting efforts to end the illegal wildlife trade and consumers adopting a greener lifestyle, such as by choosing sustainable seafood and reducing waste.
WWF-Hong Kong calls on the government to implement the following measures to transform Hong Kong into Asia’s most sustainable city:
  1. Ending the sale of high disease risk wildlife, including exotic pets, in open markets and online by 2023.
  2. Including wildlife crimes under Schedule 1 of the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance, implement CITES rules and boost enforcement.
  3. Conservation of all remaining wetlands in Hong Kong as a nature-based solution to build resilience against the impacts of climate change.
  4. Securing the wetlands in the Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site as a climate adaptation strategy to sustain the Ramsar site and the integrity of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
  5. Increasing Marine Protected Areas to cover 30% of Hong Kong waters by 2030, with no-take reserves as a foundation. Tackling waste issues to take plastics out of our oceans.
  6. Establishing a development-free Dolphin Conservation Management area in western and southern Lantau waters by 2024.