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The Nature Conservancy

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IS THE WORLD MAKING GOOD ON A LANDMARK PACT TO PROTECT NATURE?

Historic. Ambitious. A win for the planet.

Those were the words used in 2022 to describe the freshly-inked Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, a sprawling pact to protect and restore the natural world.
Some 14 months later, countries are in a race against the clock to implement the accord, which comes with the Earth on the cusp of the biggest mass extinction since the time of the dinosaurs.
“This is our last chance to get on top of the crisis facing nature,” says Neville Ash, Director of the UNEP & World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). “We only have a few years to ensure we can sustain life on Earth as we know it.”
Later this month, delegates are gathering in Kenya for the the United Nations Environment Assembly United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), the world’s top decision-making body on the environment. Among the issues they are expected to discuss is how to translate the Global Biodiversity Framework’s ambitions into action on the ground.
Ahead of those talks, we spoke with Ash about the importance of the accord and whether countries are positioned to deliver on its promise.
Why does the world need to act quickly to implement the Global Biodiversity Framework?
Neville Ash (NA): Right now, humanity is pushing 1 million species towards extinction. We’re facing the world’s sixth mass extinction; the fifth was that of the dinosaurs.
These changes to the natural world are happening faster than at any other time in human history. Their consequences reach to the heart of our societies and our economies.
This is not the first time the countries of the world have vowed to protect nature. A previous accord, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, ended with “limited progress.” What makes this new framework different?
NA: This time there is much more focus on action across government and society, and a greater emphasis on transparency of progress. Unlike past accords, there are several common indicators, which all countries have agreed to report on. These indicators cover everything from the state of biodiversity to the resources being allocated for its conservation and sustainable use. This will give a more consistent understanding of international progress based on actions taken at the national level.
Tree covered mountains bathed in sunlight
Some of the Global Biodiversity Framework’s most ambitious targets come due in 2030, including a provision to protect 30 per cent of the Earth. Photo by UNEP/Duncan Moore
Some of the framework’s most ambitious targets come due in 2030. Those include protecting 30 per cent of the Earth, restoring 30 per cent of degraded ecosystems and generating US$200 billion annually in nature-friendly financing. Is all that doable in six short years?
NA: Yes. But we need action now if there is any hope of achieving these targets. In most countries, the framework’s targets span many ministries, so engagement across the whole of government is critically important.
Governments alone cannot deliver on the ambitions of the Global Biodiversity Framework. The private sector, civil society groups and Indigenous Peoples all have key contributions to make, too. That process of buy-in takes time. Stepping up to protect 30 per cent of the planet can’t be done on New Year’s Eve 2029.
Is there a danger in countries rushing through their national biodiversity plans?

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  • George Kariuki

    8 w

    Let's make this our last chance a turning point, not another missed opportunity.

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    Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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