Top UN officials working to preserve the natural world are urging “action now” ahead of a crucial biodiversity summit this week, where world leaders will reaffirm their commitment to the cause.
The Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty agreed to at the UN Earth Summit in Brazil in 1992. It has three goals: the conservation of biological diversity; the sustainable use of nature; and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic science.
The Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Elizabeth Mrema said, “We have no time to wait. Biodiversity loss, nature loss, it is at an unprecedented level in the history of mankind. We’re the most dangerous species in the global history. Discussions are now underway for a new framework that builds on those “quote-unquote failures.”
Under the CBD, countries in 2010 agreed to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets – a group of 20 goals to conserve biodiversity that range from preserving species, to reducing deforestation by 2020. Aichi’s goals are to biodiversity what the Paris climate accord is to global warming.
Countries had until this year to reach the targets, and then move on to create a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. But despite some progress, the targets – which range from stopping species from extinction to cutting pollution and preserving forests – were not achieved.
One of the major differences between the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the post-2020 framework will be implementation. After Aichi, some countries had to create national strategies to act on the targets. Those are now in place.
The new framework will also include resources such as technology transfer and capacity building, which were not considered priorities at Aichi. To create momentum for this new way of living with nature, the President of the UN General Assembly will convene the Summit on Biodiversity, where world leaders are expected to declare their countries’ commitments to nature and a post-2020 biodiversity framework.
While these senior UN officials hope for strong participation from a variety of groups, the most important voice is strong commitments from heads of State who have the ability to direct policy change.