A delegate walks by a sign at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) during the March for Biodiversity for Human Rights in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on Dec 10, 2022. (ANDREJ IVANOV / AFP)
GENEVA/LONDON – COP15 is a "historic opportunity to see a 'Paris'-style agreement" for nature and a moment humanity has long waited for, said Marco Lambertini, director general of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International.
"We have the opportunity for the whole world to agree on a global plan and global goals for nature in order to address the crisis of biodiversity loss," the WWF chief told Xinhua ahead of the ongoing second part of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal, Canada.
New research published by the WWF showed that the number of people worried about rapid nature loss in the world's top global biodiversity hotspots has risen to nearly 60 percent, reflecting a nearly 10 percent increase since 2018
Lambertini urged world leaders to secure an ambitious global agreement to save humanity's life support systems as biodiversity loss is accelerating, food insecurity is growing, and nature is declining at unprecedented rates in human history, with 1 million species now threatened with extinction, showed data from the organization's recent press release.
"Nature conservation is critical, not just for nature, but actually for all of us, for our future, and particularly for the climate agenda. It's a great opportunity. We can't miss it," he said.
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New research published by the WWF showed that the number of people worried about rapid nature loss in the world's top global biodiversity hotspots has risen to nearly 60 percent, reflecting a nearly 10 percent increase since 2018.
"This is really a cultural shift that makes us look at nature loss as a threat to our own survival, to our own prosperity, to our own future, the future of our children and their children. This is a new cultural shift, where nature is beginning to be valued," Lambertini said.
"A lot of governments, a lot of corporates are doing good work for nature conservation, but we need a global plan that brings everybody on the same page, in the same direction, on the same ambition to deliver action, at a much higher scale and much faster speed than we've seen until now. I'm optimistic," he added.
"Nature loss is a global problem and requires everybody's participation to address it, at the government level, at the business level, at the investor level, at the consumer level," he said. "Multilateralism is critical, and the plan has to be a global plan that inspires everybody to move in the same direction."
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The WWF chief, meanwhile, underscored that other key issues remain unsolved, including how to mobilize the necessary finance. The organization's latest data showed that the biodiversity finance gap is estimated to be $700 billion annually.
"Funding continues to be the most difficult discussion in every negotiation these days, particularly at the time when there is a looming economic recession in key countries," he said.
"The majority of the funding needs are in the Global South, where there is a higher level of biodiversity and less means to protect it. There is no doubt that the conference should agree on increasing the funding for biodiversity to the South," he said.
"On the other hand, we need to finance biodiversity and greening finance, meaning making sure that the financial flows that today are spent on agriculture, fishing, infrastructure, forestry, subsidies and investments are actually driving nature-positive transitions, transitions and practices that are in balance with the natural world," he added.
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Lambertini said the WWF will press governments in Montreal to adopt a "Paris"-style agreement capable of driving immediate action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for a nature-positive world.
"We need to have an agreement that is appropriate, serious enough and ambitious enough to deal with the seriousness of the situation. The science is very clear. We need to reverse nature loss. We need to bring nature back and the agreement in COP15 needs to reflect that," he said.