DG Statement | 11 Oct, 2021

IUCN Director General’s statement for the UN Biodiversity Conference

Biodiversity continues to decline at unprecedented rates. The resulting global loss of life and livelihoods is an existential emergency. Last month, IUCN’s 1,500 Members discussed the post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France. We therefore arrive at today’s UN Biodiversity Conference empowered by our state, civil society, and indigenous peoples Members. The Union has strongly reaffirmed that the framework must be ‘fit for purpose’, through adopting ambitious goals and targets to address the loss of nature together with the linked challenges of climate change, and land degradation.

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IUCN Director General Dr Bruno Oberle reiterates the Union’s call to increase investment in nature at the IUCN Congress in Marseille, France, September 2021

Photo: IUCN / Ecodeo / Margarita Corporan

These three crises are inextricably linked and need integrated approaches. For example, nature-based solutions could provide more than a third of the climate change mitigation needed by 2030 to stabilise warming to below 2°C. Only with a bold and coordinated approach can we halt and reverse the loss of nature by 2030, to achieve recovery and restoration by 2050.

This unity must extend to all of society. The framework must recognise the role countries, sub-national governments, indigenous peoples and local communities, youth, civil society, and the private sector can play.

Furthermore, the framework must be a unified action plan that integrates and achieves the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the other two Rio Conventions, and the biodiversity-related conventions and processes. It must fully align with and contribute to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

In particular, the framework – recognising the key role nature-based solutions can play – must:

  1. Protect 30% of the planet by 2030. These must be the right places (key biodiversity areas), which must be effectively managed and equitably governed. The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas can support this ambitious target.
  2. Conserve the oceans for nature and society. Under the leadership of Western Indian Ocean states, IUCN is committed to the Great Blue Wall Initiative; to develop a regenerative blue economy that benefits 70 million people, while conserving and restoring marine and coastal biodiversity.
  3. Scale up species conservation to improve the status of wild species, ensuring that their use is safe, legal, and sustainable. In consultation with the biodiversity-related conventions, we offer help through the developing Global Species Action Plan which provides tools and policies for governments worldwide.
  4. Restore more degraded ecosystems globally, through the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. IUCN is proud to work with the government of China, for example, to help restore and best manage 45 million hectares of planted forests.
  5. Ensure sufficient funding goes to nature. The world must increase investments from all sources so that 0.7-1% of global GDP funds the framework’s implementation. More generally, states need to integrate nature into economic policies through redirecting harmful subsidies by at least USD 500 billion annually.

The negotiations that begin today must lead to a plan that truly protects biodiversity: our life support system. If we take urgent action now, it is not too late to overcome the crises facing us.

IUCN thus welcomes the Kunming Declaration and looks forward to supporting its implementation together with all partners at the Conference and around the globe. Only through this can we secure a future for life on Earth.