UN nature plan risks another lost decade

Posted on 18 January 2021

Without majorly ramping up urgency and ambition, governments negotiating a global ten-year biodiversity plan are risking another ‘lost decade for nature’, according to a paper released today by WWF.
The paper, Nature positive by 2030: Kunming plan for nature and people, outlines WWF’s proposals for a transformative, comprehensive and measurable post-2020 global biodiversity framework as countries get ready to restart talks on such a framework, which is due to be agreed later this year. Taking place under the auspices of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the negotiations represent a once-in-a-decade opportunity to secure a global biodiversity agreement similar to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

WWF’s new  assessment is also a stark warning: it finds that the current draft biodiversity plan is neither ambitious nor comprehensive enough to tackle our global nature crisis.

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International said:
“Science has never been clearer. We are currently witnessing a catastrophic decline in our planet’s biodiversity. This isn’t new. It’s been accelerating for decades - with the world failing time and time again to act. We cannot afford another lost decade for biodiversity. [...] Now is the time when leaders must step up and deliver for people and the planet. We need them to secure an ambitious biodiversity agreement that resets our relationship with the natural world and delivers a nature-positive future.”

The EU is no exception to the devastation of our natural world. It missed its biodiversity target of halting biodiversity loss by 2020, and 81% of its habitats have a ‘poor’ or ‘bad’ status [1]. However, the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 could be a beacon of hope, if fully and rapidly implemented, and must be brought to the table at the CBD discussions later this year.

“The EU must lead by example by putting its own Biodiversity Strategy into action immediately. In the global biodiversity framework discussions, the EU must call for a robust implementation mechanism that holds countries accountable, to ensure agreements on paper are turned into actions that rapidly make a difference. It must also ensure the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities are recognised,” said Ester Asin, Director at WWF European Policy Office.

To successfully reverse nature loss, WWF urges countries to adopt a whole-society approach that spurs all sectors of society and government into urgent and transformative action. It must be inclusive and include full recognition of the role and rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. 

Of course, achieving goals and targets will not be possible without adequate resource mobilisation. Today’s paper found that progress on this has been far too slow and calls for it to be prioritised by all countries as soon as possible, with rich countries, including the EU, committing to support developing ones and ensure the costs of implementing the framework do not fall most heavily on their shoulders.

At the same time, the new biodiversity plan must address the negative impact of finance on our world’s natural resources, aligning financial flows with nature-positive practices and eliminating harmful incentives, including perverse subsidies. WWF calls on countries to make specific commitments on these issues to enable ambitious target setting in other essential elements of the framework, including direct conservation action and the transformation of productive sectors driving nature loss.

Negotiations on the draft biodiversity plan began in 2019. However, further talks were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The final negotiated plan is scheduled to be adopted in Kunming, China, later this year.

Ends

References:

[1] EEA, State of Nature in the EU report (2020)

For further information on WWF European Policy Office's biodiversity work please visit our webpage

Contact:
Edel Shanahan
Communication Officer, Biodiversity and Agriculture
WWF European Policy Office
+ 32 484 49 35 15
 
Kunming Plan for nature and people
© Araon Gekoski / WWF US