The upcoming 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai comes at a critical time. Against a rapidly closing window of opportunity, we must overcome two of the most significant challenges for human societies: climate change and biodiversity loss. They are inseparable, interdependent, and mutually reinforcing. Our current approaches fall short of what scientific evidence indicates is needed to address them.
This task is core to the mission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): to influence, encourage and assist societies worldwide to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
Solving the linked challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss demands bold and transformative efforts. Responsibility falls on us all.
As the seven elected Commission Chairs of the IUCN, we represent over 15,000 scientists, scholars, policy makers, economists, lawyers, and other experts who work on issues related to this mission. For the first time, we are writing collectively because COP28 represents not just an opportunity to assess our progress, but to issue a profound call to action. We must adopt a holistic approach that recognises the interdependence of the climate and biodiversity crises. (Read IUCN's position paper for COP28 here.)
Solving these linked challenges demands bold and transformative efforts firmly anchored in science and the principles of justice and equity. At the core of the necessary whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach is the recognition that the fate of our planet rests not only in the hands of governments and institutions but also in the actions of the private sector, individuals, and communities. Responsibility falls on us all.
Four key elements should guide debates at COP28 and beyond over how best to design and deploy innovative solutions to biodiversity loss and climate change.