Global warming, overfishing, pollution and a host of other factors have led to a decline in coral reef cover by approximately 50% since the fifties according to an analysis of almost 15,000 reef surveys. From the Great Barrier Reef to the Saya de Malha Bank, coral reef cover and the diversity of fish species which depend on them are receding drastically.

The leaders of over 100 countries have adopted the Kunming Declaration, calling for an "urgent and integrated" action on biodiversity. The document is the outcome of the High-Level Segment of CBD COP-15 Part 1 – 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity – that took place in China on October 11-15.

The declaration aims to build momentum and set forward general ambitions to halt biodiversity loss ahead of the next round of negotiations of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in January 2022. Invasive alien species (IAS) are listed among the main drivers of the current environmental crisis, and their control and eradication are cited as a necessary step towards reducing threats to biodiversity.

Climate change may play a role in delaying malaria eradication, according to researchers. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns have been associated with the emergence of malaria in areas where it was previously absent in Ethiopia. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have confirmed the relationship between climate change and mosquito-borne diseases in a recent study.

By Gregg Howald, Advanced Conservation Strategies

According to the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 1 million species around the world are currently threatened with extinction. Invasive species are one of the leading causes of extinctions, which are on the rise, despite the efforts of conservationists.

After three decades of research, the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved the inclusion of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) vaccine to the current toolbox of interventions to fight malaria in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.

This is the first-ever malaria vaccine that provides partial protection against the disease in children under five years old. Developed by GSK, the vaccine has been part of a large-scale pilot programme coordinated by WHO in the past couple of years in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.