In September 2020, political leaders from more than 70 countries, the EU, and many intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations issued a joint “Pledge for Nature,” a call to ramp up international action for biodiversity, nature and climate.
Launched in support of the first UN Summit on Biodiversity on 30 September, the pledge stresses the urgency of reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. Among its 10 priorities are putting biodiversity, climate, and the environment at the heart of COVID-19 recovery strategies; ending environmental criminality; mainstreaming biodiversity into relevant sectoral policies; and harnessing the role of traditional and Indigenous knowledge.
These commitments look promising. But as the pledge itself acknowledges, the battle to preserve and nurture biodiversity requires “meaningful action and mutual accountability to address the planetary emergency”. As nations around the world work out national targets, they should also decide the policies and allocate the resources needed to ensure that these commitments come to life. This is also true for the EU, which committed to lead the way with its European Green Deal and Biodiversity strategy for 2030.
In a recent briefing, Fern outlined the importance of EU efforts to shape ambitious biodiversity proposals domestically but it also explained why more was needed, including an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework to protect forest ecosystems and forest peoples’ rights. The EU is an important player as it has a global impact on deforestation and ecosystem conversion.
To see whether the Pledge for Nature will be more than aspirational, NGOs are waiting to see if the EU earmarks a significant portion of its 2021 - 27 budget for biodiversity action, and whether it implements existing policies as the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, and supports community-led solutions that strengthen land and resource rights and respond to local aspirations for shared prosperity.
World leaders will continue to meet to review progress and increase commitments to achieve the Biodiversity Convention’s vision of “living in harmony with nature” by 2050. Protecting nature and decarbonising our societies cannot wait, and this is done best by hearing the voices of those most affected by biodiversity loss.