This week leaders and decision-makers from all over the world gather at crucial nature talks in Montreal, Canada, for the 15th meeting of the parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity – otherwise known as CBD COP15.
UN conventions are always non-stop, and often involve all-night negotiations. I know I’ll be tired at the end! But the effort is vital – big issues like this can only be tackled through active collaboration between nations. This COP15 is crucial and WWF has been working up to it for years: it represents a once-in-a-decade chance to agree a global deal to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030.
All of us depend on nature. It provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the places we love and the animals and plants all around us. It’s our life support system – and our greatest ally in the fight against climate change.
WWF’s latest Living Planet Report shows that nature is declining at rates unprecedented in human history, with global wildlife populations plummeting by 69 per cent on average since 1970. One million species are now threatened with extinction. Here in the UK, we’re one of the most nature depleted countries in the world– more than one in seven of our native species face extinction and more than 40 per cent are in decline.
Hopes for COP15
At COP15, WWF is calling on all countries to secure a game-changing agreement to reverse the loss of nature by the end of 2030. Ending the decade with more nature than we had at the start is essential to securing a sustainable future for both people and the planet. It also helps ensure that the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change remains within reach.
This COP15 is crucial and WWF has been working up to it for years: it represents a once-in-a-decade chance to agree a global deal to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030.
If leaders pull together this could be nature’s equivalent of the Paris Agreement. But there is a lack of ambition in the current draft text to tackle the drivers of biodiversity loss, including our broken food systems, and, as with so many global challenges, finance remains a key sticking point in the negotiations. A sharp increase in finance for biodiversity will be essential to implement the framework.
When you’re negotiating on something as critical as nature, the stakes are high. The level of ambition at COP15 needs to reflect the scale of the nature crisis we’re facing, and world leaders must send a clear signal that this is a top priority.
The UK’s role
In these negotiations, every country needs to pull its weight, but the UK must deliver on its promise to lead the way. The government has committed to publish several nature-focused targets, including halting the decline of species abundance and reversing the loss of nature in England by 2030. We need the government to publish its targets at COP15 and these must meet the ambition of halting and reversing nature loss by 2030.
At WWF, we’re also calling for Thérèse Coffey, UK secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, who will be at COP15, to commit to a significant increase in resources together with aligning financial flows to be nature-positive and repurposing harmful incentives and subsidies by 2030.
Failing to act at this critical moment will be the biggest betrayal of future generations the world has ever seen. Together, we can and must hold our leaders to account on their promises to help bring our world back to life.