Stakes are high as COP15 ‘last chance’ to protect nature

Leaders are calling for an ambitious plan to preserve biodiversity at next month’s UN summit COP15 held in Montreal, as time is running out.  

The head of Natural England say the conference is our ‘best and last chance’ to protect nature, as a recent WWF report found wildlife populations have dropped by 69% since 1970.  

200 countries will come together from December 7th to discuss plans for restoring nature and halting biodiversity loss at what the UK’s six nature conservation bodies say is a critical moment.  

brown monkey on brown tree branch

Tony Juniper, Natural England Chair, said: ‘This isn’t just about saving rare species, it’s about sustaining the web of life upon which humankind ultimately depends, for food, water, health and climate regulation. Safeguarding all of that means that as the world charts a route to low carbon it must at the same time go high Nature.’ 

Lord Benyon, Minister for International Nature, also reflected that ‘a healthy natural environment is the cornerstone of a healthy climate, secure and clean water supplies and a resilient food supply.’ 

Key issues which are expected to be discussed include the aim to protect 30% of the earth’s land and sea by 2030, the elimination of government subsidies to firms which damage the environment and the restoration of degraded land.  

Currently, the world is far from achieving its target of 30% of protected land and seas by 2030, with Wildlife Trusts finding just 3% of land and 8% of sea has been protected so far.  

Juniper added that the conservation bodies wanted to see strong targets for 2030 with funding and support to back these up: ‘The meeting has the chance to significantly increase the mobilisation of resources to implement such a plan. We know from numerous examples of nature recovery that we have helped deliver that this will be money well spent, and certainly cheaper than dealing with the consequences of not taking action.’  

The conservation agencies from across the UK came together at the Royal Society in London on Wednesday to discuss how the UK can ensure more is done to reverse biodiversity loss and to tackle the climate crisis.  

They pledged to commit to ambitious targets, to support governments with UK skills and knowledge, to drive public and private investment in nature-based solutions, to embed nature recovery into decision making and to deliver UK government policies on nature.  

Photo by lip hui


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