Positive nature by 2030: a major global goal for nature

The dangerous and the aggravation the decline in biodiversity is well documented – we know we are destroying natural systems faster than they can replenish themselves. Yet we depend entirely on nature for human health, well-being and prosperity. The recent ‘Dasgupta Review’ on the Global Biodiversity Economy – commissioned by the UK Treasury – provides further evidence that we have collectively failed with the natural world, with demands far exceeding its ability to provide us with goods and resources. services. The prosperity and health of present and future generations are threatened. With more than half of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) depending moderately or heavily on nature, biodiversity loss is among the top five risks to the global economy. COVID is almost a “small change” in comparison …

It is clear that our planet is in the red and we must reset the global compass to protect and conserve the nature we have today, and stop and reverse the loss of nature to avoid dangerous consequences for the stability of our planet. . The world is facing three interconnected crises: loss of biodiversity, climate change and inequalities in human development. But while the Paris Agreement on climate change can be summed up by the concrete objective of carbon neutrality to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees, no equivalent succinct objective motivates ambitions and actions for nature. , the different dimensions of biodiversity and the agreements in place to protect it.

For years, we have been at the forefront of the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, knowing how inextricably linked the two crises are. We will not solve either without addressing both together (as the recent joint IPBES and IPCC report made clear). Positive nature and carbon neutral go hand in hand.

Through our 1Planet1Right campaign, we also call on the United Nations to recognize the universal right to a healthy environment, and to put in place legislation and actions to achieve it, to ensure that the coming decade is one in from which we transform our relationship with nature, for the good of all and of the planet.

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A global goal for nature

At the start of the United Nations General Assembly and Biodiversity Summit last year, a large group of global nature and development NGOs and business organizations called for a clear, comprehensive global goal for nature. . A goal that can be integrated with other global goals to create a “fair future that respects nature and is carbon neutral”. The goal can be summed up in one sentence: positive nature by 2030 and living in harmony with nature by 2050.

BirdLife, as a co-founder of this group, advocated for the scientific and political rationale for the new global goal. Drawing on 78 published academic papers, a compelling 20-page article has been written – co-authored by a dozen conservation and business organizations – that highlights the unprecedented consensus behind the lens.

As any management consultant will tell you, all goals should be measurable. The document also highlights the approach needed to measure the inverse of nature loss, recommending focusing on the abundance, diversity and resilience of species and ecosystems globally. He also advises using a hierarchical mitigation and conservation approach that avoids areas important for biodiversity, limits other losses to nature, and compensates for unavoidable losses through ecological restoration.

Momentum is building

The momentum behind the ‘nature-positive’ concept has grown since its inception – both in the NGO and corporate sectors – and now brings together several related initiatives. There is also a strong interest from some governments; In September 2020, leaders from over 80 countries signed a Leaders Pledge for Nature, pledging to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. Specifically, there is significant political support for conservation and protection of at least 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030 (’30×30′) as evidenced by the 53 countries that support the High Ambition Coalition, which was officially launched at the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity in January 2021 This was again echoed in the recent communiqué of the June G7 meeting, which issued a ‘2030 Nature Compact’ stating: “Our world must not only become net zero, but also nature positive.”

The World Economic Forum supports the goal of a positive nature, as do leading business coalitions. All these actors understand that a positive society for nature by 2030 is essential for our survival and that, despite fears to the contrary, we can do it with a thriving economy.

  • By 2030, we need to be more nature through improvements in the health, abundance, diversity and resilience of species, populations and ecosystems. We need all future developments and infrastructure to be planned and implemented with a positive nature in mind.
  • By 2050, we must live in harmony with nature. Actions for nature cannot be achieved without addressing both the climate emergency and social justice.
  • A fair world, carbon neutral and respectful of nature must be everyone’s goal, starting today.

The race is on

This is nothing we haven’t said before, but now everything is brought together under one big picture: we must stop the loss of species, safeguard intact natural systems, effectively conserve key areas for biodiversity and other sites important for biodiversity, restore human-affected landscapes, freshwater systems and seascapes, and reduce the consumption and production factors of biodiversity loss.

It will require action by all parts of society to protect ecosystems, and to stop and then reverse the loss of nature through restoration. Tackling the erosion of the natural world requires actions not only to protect species and their habitats, but also to stop excessive and destructive trade and development practices, by addressing both direct and indirect drivers of degradation. loss of nature.

You might be thinking “Didn’t the world set global goals in 2010 for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity?” There has been a lot of concern about the world’s failure to meet these nature-saving Aichi Targets, and BirdLife has been at the forefront of figuring out why. Our latest report Targets Birds & Biodiversity uses our extensive research and expertise to describe the exact gaps in targets. Importantly, it also provides a roadmap and a message of hope to the world, using successes in bird conservation to show that there are solutions to the problems facing the biosphere and that nature can recover quickly. when they are implemented.

The United Nations meeting on biodiversity, CBD COP 15, is scheduled to take place in October 2021 in Kunming, China. This year’s goal is to adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework as a crucial stepping stone towards the 2050 vision of “living in harmony with nature”. As a supporter of the World Wildlife Goal, BirdLife calls on governments to negotiate using an ambitious ‘positive nature by 2030’ lens.

Adding a clear and positive global goal for nature that can be combined with climate and human development goals would give humanity a “north star / south cross” for development pathways across the world. in order to create a fair and carbon neutral future. where biodiversity thrives. It seems positive to me for nature.

About Lucille Thompson

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