More than 60 percent of the world’s coral reefs are endangered
due to overfishing, destructive practices and climate change,
according to the United Nations. Yesterday the first-ever U.N.
Summit on Biodiversity concluded with world leaders and experts
agreeing on the urgency to preserve biodiversity globally. Credit:
By Samira Sadeque
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 1 2020 (IPS)
“Investing in nature is investing in a sustainable future,”
was one of the key messages from yesterday’s first-ever United
Nations Summit on Biodiversity where world leaders and experts
agreed� on the urgency to act swiftly to preserve biodiversity
â€œMore than 60 percent of the worldâ€™s coral reefs are
endangered due to overfishing, destructive practices and climate
change,â€ U.N. Secretary General AntÃ³nio Guterres said in his
opening remarks at the biodiversity summit, which was held as the
75th Session of the U.N. General Assembly wrapped up this week.
This loss doesnâ€™t come without a cost.
Guterres added that according to an Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimate, the amount of money
required for sustainability of nature is about $300 â€“ 400
billion, which is less than â€œcurrent levels of harmful subsidies
for agriculture, mining and other destructive industriesâ€.
Guterres also pointed out how this disproportionately affects
According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, between 50
to 90 percent of the livelihoods of poor households comes from
â€œNature offers business opportunities to poor communities,
from sustainable farming to eco-tourism or subsistence fishing,â€
This year was especially crucial given the COVID-19 pandemic and
the havoc it wreaked across communities around the world.
Volkan BozkÄ±r, president of the General Assembly, pointed out
the worldâ€™s inability to ensure preservation of biodiversity
severely impedes the ability to fight diseases â€” a result that is
being witnessed first hand this year. It also negatively affects
food security, water supplies, and livelihoods, among other
â€œWe must be pragmatic: our healthcare systems rely upon rich
biodiversity,â€ BozkÄ±r said. â€œFour billion people depend upon
natural medicines for their health, and 70 percent of drugs used
for cancer treatments are drawn from nature.â€
â€œMore than half of the worldâ€™s GDP â€“ $44 trillion â€“ is
dependent on nature,â€ he added.
Chinese president Xi Jinping addressed the meeting, extending a
warm welcome for next yearâ€™s Conference of the Parties to the
Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) scheduled to take place
â€œCOP15 offers an opportunity for parties to adopt new
strategies for global biodiversity governance,â€ Xi said.
Xi proposed a list of steps that leaders can take in order to
ensure biodiversity preservation around the world:
- Adhere to ecological civilisation and increase the drive for
building a beautiful world, given that a sound ecosystem is crucial
for the prosperity of civilisation. â€œWe need to respect nature,
follow its laws, and protect it,â€ he said. â€œWe need to find a
way for man and nature to live in harmony, balance and coordinate
economic development and ecological protection.â€
- Uphold multilateralism and build synergy for global governance
on the environment. â€œFaced with the risks and challenges
worldwide, countries share a common stake as passengers [on] the
same boat, and form a community with a shared future,â€ Xi said.
â€œTo enhance global governance on the environment, we must firmly
safeguard the U.N.-centred international system, and uphold the
sanctity and authority of international rules.â€
- Continue with green development and increase potential for high
quality economic recovery after COVID-19.
Meanwhile, panelists at a â€œFireside Chatâ€ panel brought up
the importance of including indigenous communities in the
Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment
Programme, said the indigenous community is â€œcriticalâ€ to this
â€œLetâ€™s recall they are the owners and managers of one
quarter of global land area, and one third of protected areas,â€
Andersen said. â€œSo safeguarding their right to their land is part
of safeguarding biodiversity.â€
Ana Maria Hernandez Salgar, the first woman chair of the
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and
Ecosystem Services (IPBES), also shared a similar sentiment as she
reflected on what, in her experience, has led to true change.
â€œWe have to work collectively: governments, individuals,
private sector, academia, we need to address the root cause of
biodiversity loss â€“ it works,â€ Salgar said.
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the appointed Executive Secretary of the
Convention on Biological Diversity, also spoke on the same panel
and added that itâ€™s important not to lose sight of the fact that
biodiversity, on top of being a concern, is also a solution to some
of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
â€œWe know, 14 out of the 17 SDGs depend on biodiversity, from
nature-based solutions, to climate, to food, water, security,
sustainable livelihood: biodiversity remains the basis for
sustainable future and sustainable development,â€ Mrema said.
Perhaps the conversation on the link between biodiversity
preservation and humans was most aptly put forth by Achim Steiner
of the U.N. Development Programme who moderated the panel.
At the core of the preservation efforts is how we view the
issue, Steiner said.
Itâ€™s not just about nature, itâ€™s about humans too.
â€œBiodiversity has as much to do with nature as it has to do
with people, peopleâ€™s dependence on nature, peopleâ€™s inability
to see the complexities of nature, peopleâ€™s blindness and
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Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
We Need Nature and Biodiversity if We Want a Sustainable