Sixty-four countries -among them, Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom- have signed the so-called “Commitment of the Leaders for Nature”, as a preamble to the biodiversity summit that will be held on Wednesday in New York and in the that will participate virtually more than a hundred heads of state and presidents of the Government.
The European Union gave a boost to the historic agreement to halt the deterioration of nature with its 10-point action plan that includes halting deforestation, ending unsustainable fishing practices, eliminating plastic dumping in seas and rivers, the removal of environmentally damaging subsidies and the transition to sustainable food production and a circular economy.
The absence of countries such as the United States, China, Russia, Brazil or Australia has nevertheless reduced the impact of the initiative, to which countries such as Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Bangladesh or New Zealand have joined.
“Science has clearly shown that biodiversity loss, ocean and soil degradation, pollution, resource depletion and climate change are accelerating on an unprecedented scale,” can be read in the “commitment” of leaders. “This acceleration is causing irreversible damage to life-sustaining systems and is exacerbating poverty, inequality and hunger.”
“Despite all the global agreements for the protection, sustainable use and restoration of biodiversity, and despite the success of many local initiatives, the global trend continues to move rapidly in the wrong direction,” the text continues.
“A transformative change is needed: we cannot just carry on as before.”
The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, wanted to take advantage of the momentum of the 75th General Assembly to
link world health in the midst of the pandemic and the protection of the environment. Despite being held for the first time in “virtual” mode, the Assembly has started commitments such as the one announced by President Xi Jinping: the neutrality of carbon in China before the year 2060.
The United Kingdom has also taken a step forward:
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that 30% of the national territory will be under protection in 2030, which will mean an increase of 400,000 hectares in the next decade. Johnson has warned that the pandemic cannot serve to “take a nap” on the issue of climate change and has promoted a mini-summit in December, to pave the way to the COP26 in Glasgow, which had to be postponed until November 2021 .
“We must act now and we cannot afford any more delays , because the loss of biodiversity is happening now and is progressing in a terrifying way,” Johnson declared at the start of the New York meeting. “If we leave the situation as is, the consequences will be catastrophic for everyone. Extinction is forever, our actions must be immediate.”
According to the
2020 Living Planet Report, sponsored by the WWF organization and the Zoological Society of London, global populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have declined an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016. “We we are facing the real possibility of a sixth mass extinction, caused by human actions, “warns naturalist David Attenborough, who is releasing his documentary” A life on our planet “these days.