World must not miss chance to secure ‘Paris’-style agreement for nature at COP15

Posted on 29 November 2022

In the face of accelerating biodiversity loss and growing food insecurity, WWF is urging world leaders to secure an ambitious global agreement to save our life support systems at the COP15 UN biodiversity conference set to start next week in Montreal (7-19 December).
WWF will be pressing governments in Montreal to adopt a ‘Paris’-style agreement capable of driving immediate action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for a nature-positive world. This means having more nature at the end of the decade, than we have now.

To date, more than 90 world leaders, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, have endorsed the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, committing to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. 

The EU must now show continued leadership by urgently turning commitments into action - including by championing a transformative global biodiversity agreement.

“The European Union must take seriously its global leadership by championing nature conservation and restoration, and by pushing for an ambitious deal to secure a nature-positive world by 2030. The race is now on for key parties to step up and lead - and the EU must be one of them,” said Guido Broekhoven, Head of Policy Research & Development, WWF International.

In particular, WWF is calling on the EU to step up its green diplomacy efforts by attending the COP at the highest level and continue to work towards overcoming remaining stumbling blocks towards an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) commensurate with the scale of the biodiversity crisis. In addition, it must also allocate the necessary finance needed to meet the targets, increase ambition on addressing the drivers of biodiversity loss and agree to halve the global footprint of production and consumption by 2030.

Having delivered a strong proposal for a Nature Restoration Law earlier this year, the European Commission has emphasised the EU’s role as global spearhead. This places great responsibility on the EU to lead negotiations on an ambitious GBF, yet credibility to do so depends on actions ‘at home’.

“Also domestically, the EU must lead by example by adopting a strong Nature Restoration Law as proposed by the European Commission and stay ambitious in the final negotiations on the new EU Deforestation Law. This will greatly enhance its credibility to advocate for global restoration targets that cover all ecosystems, driving the immediate and thorough implementation of deforestation and conversion-free supply chains,” added Sabien Leemans, Senior Biodiversity Officer, WWF European Policy Office

Nature is declining at rates unprecedented in human history, with one million species now threatened with extinction. People are becoming increasingly aware of this crisis. New WWF research published today shows the amount of people concerned about rapid nature loss in the world’s top global biodiversity hotspots, has risen to nearly 60% – reflecting a 10% increase, since 2018*. In addition, nature and climate change were seen as the most important policy areas for people (81%), across the thousands surveyed. 

“We are losing biodiversity at an alarming rate. We’ve lost half of the world’s warm water corals, and forests the size of roughly one football field vanish every two seconds**. Wildlife populations have suffered a two-thirds decline globally in less than 50 years. The future of the natural world is on a knife’s edge. But nature is resilient – and with a strong global agreement driving urgent action it can bounce back,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.

WWF stresses the importance of countries agreeing to a goal of conserving at least 30% of the planet’s land, inland waters and oceans by 2030 through a rights-based approach that recognizes the leadership and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

At the same time, action is needed to ensure the remaining 70% of the planet is sustainably managed and restored – and this means addressing the drivers of biodiversity loss, with the same level of urgency. Science is clear that global production and consumption rates are completely unsustainable and are causing serious damage to the natural systems people rely on for their livelihoods and well-being. WWF’s calls for an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework are underlined by new research which found 56% of people surveyed believe government action to protect biodiversity is insufficient. The research, which surveyed more than 9200 people across regions with staggering rates of biodiversity loss, found that people also perceived policy-related actions to be more impactful than individual consumer action. 

[ENDS]

Notes to editors

Contact:

Ola Miklasińska (in Brussels)
Communications Officer, Biodiversity
amiklasinska@wwf.eu
+32 456 37 60 64

Emma Ackerley (at COP15 in Montreal)
Media Relations Manager, WWF International
eackerley@wwfint.org 
+44 07570 304793

WWF International news desk news@wwfint.org 

WWF considers the below essential ingredients in an ambitious global biodiversity framework:
  • A mission to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for a nature-positive world
  • A goal to have 30% of the planet’s land and water conserved by 2030 through a rights-based approach
  • A commitment to halve the world’s footprint of production and consumption by 2030
  • A comprehensive resource mobilization strategy to finance the implementation of the framework 
  • A strong implementation mechanism which offers reviews and ratchets action over time, in the mold of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, with agreed indicators to measure progress
  • A rights-based approach, recognizing the leadership, rights, and knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities, and a whole of society approach, enabling the participation of all sectors of society throughout the implementation of the framework
  • The inclusion of equitable and rights-based Nature-based Solutions alongside ecosystem-based approaches to deliver benefits for people and nature
WWF’s expectations paper for COP15 is available to read here.

WWF’s Biodiversity Awareness Study 2022
*The WWF study, funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), surveyed 9,228 respondents from across nine countries in biodiversity hotspots, including Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya,  Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and South Africa. The survey aimed to understand the current levels of awareness and attitudes towards biodiversity, willingness to act to protect nature and gauge the level of concern about biodiversity loss. The data was collected between 25 November - 9 December 2021 through an online quantitative survey. The summary can be found in the attached PDF, and further analysis of these figures will be available here on 29 November.

**Half of the world’s warm water corals have been lost, and forests the size of football fields vanish every two seconds. Living Planet Report 2022 and WWF analysis.

WWF light projection at the Palais de Justice (Montreal Courthouse)
For the three days ahead of COP15, WWF is showing a spectacular light projection at the Palais de Justice (Montreal Courthouse), 1 Notre Dame East, located behind Montreal city hall in the Old Montreal area. The projection includes a series of graphics of nature and people that aim to heighten people's awareness of the once in a decade opportunity that COP15 brings to secure an ambitious global biodiversity agreement. All are invited to come along, take photographs and utilize in reporting. Projections will run on 5th, 6th and 7th December from 17:00 - 23:00 local time. Insert H2Y 1B6 into GPS devices for exact location.
 
About WWF
WWF is an independent conservation organization, with over 30 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit www.panda.org/news for the latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media.

UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15
Originally signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. There are now 196 Parties to the CBD, which has a 2050 vision to achieve a world that is ‘living in harmony with nature’. Between 3-5 December, an Open-Ended Working Group-5 will be taking place with key negotiators ahead of the 15th of Conference of Parties (COP15) between 7-19 December, both in Montreal, Canada. 10,000+ people are expected to attend the conference.
The EU must show continued leadership by urgently turning commitments into action - including by championing a transformative global biodiversity agreement.
© Tomasz Wilk