UN Biodiversity Summit led to 75 world leaders committing to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2030!
The “Leaders’ Commitment to Nature”, more than half of which was signed by ACP and EU states, is a strong political declaration, which seems to mark a turning point in the worldwide awareness and explicit recognition of the need to commit to meaningful joint action on Biodiversity.
The first international Biodiversity Summit that took place on 30 September 2020, was marked by the revalidation that none of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets will be met by the 2020 deadline.
In light of reported exceeding biodiversity loss, participants – including world leaders, experts, civil society, private sector, and others – expressed concern. They pointed out that 13 million hectares of forest are lost and one million species are at risk of extinction every year. In the last 50 years, vertebrates have declined by 68%. If we continue down this path, food security, water supplies, and livelihoods will be threatened, as will our ability to fight diseases and face extreme events.
The Secretariat of the OACPS called on Member States to implement the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.
It is to be noted that prior to the Summit, the Secretary General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), H.E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Chikoti called on the 79 Member States to use the Summit to strengthen political momentum towards the post‑2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), expected to take place in Kunming, China, in 2021. In this context, H.E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Chikoti, issued several recommendations.
Photo: H.E. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States
A promising sign reinforced by the Covid-19 situation
During the Summit, discussion focused on the need for urgent action at the highest levels in support of a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, while realizing the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, “Living in harmony with nature.”
Many leaders noted that COVID-19 situation may finally have brought the message that our planet is in dire crisis, and that urgent actions are required. There is a general reckoning that biodiversity must be a shared responsibility. They also recognised that this moment in history, when the pandemic has forced change, is an opportunity for a “green reset”.
It is worth noting that the “Leaders’ Pledge for Nature”, signed by many ACP and the EU before the Summit, is considered by many as a promising sign of gathering momentum for an ambitious post-2020 GBF. Indeed, a similar High Ambition Coalition emerged ahead of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.
As the onus of protecting biodiversity lies with all countries at the international, regional and national levels, efforts will thus be required from all stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, civil society and local and indigenous communities, to effectively address the drivers of biodiversity loss and ensure a reversal of the noted decline.