23 September 2021 – In a move described by WWF as a game-changer that will help safeguard humanity, prevent pandemics and create essential new jobs, massive new funding for biodiversity and commitments to stop harmful investments was announced yesterday at a high-level event on the margins of the UN General Assembly. The announcement represents the biggest-ever philanthropic commitment to nature conservation.
The event, Transformative Action for Nature and People, brought together leaders from across the world to showcase and announce actions to reverse biodiversity loss and secure a nature-positive world by 2030. More than 20 Heads of State and Governments were joined by leading funders, NGOs and indigenous voices to drive forward momentum for nature and people.
The $5 billion pledge over the next 10 years is to ensure 30% of the planet is protected and preserved in the most important places for biodiversity by 2030. The funds will be used to focus on supporting the creation, expansion, management and monitoring of protected and conserved areas of land, inland water and sea, working with Indigenous Peoples, local communities, civil society and governments. This commitment is being made jointly by Arcadia, one of the UK's largest philanthropic foundations; the Bezos Earth Fund; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Nia Tero; Rainforest Trust ($500 million); Re:wild; Wyss Foundation ($500 million); and the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation. The event also included a transformational announcement of the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge under which 75 financial institutions from around the globe - worth a collective 12 trillion Euros in assets - will commit to protecting and restoring biodiversity through their finance activities and investments.***
‘Today's announcements show that the world is converging around the need to reverse the loss of nature and is beginning to mobilise funds at scale, making a promising move towards closing the $700 billion per year funding gap** to reverse nature loss. Adopting a clear nature-positive global goal will drive the repurposing of public and private funding to support sustainable practices in the sectors that today are driving nature and biodiversity loss, like agriculture, fishing, infrastructures. It is possible and it also makes economic sense, as today we know that the cost of inaction will be huge and tragic. This is not only essential for nature: it will safeguard humanity, help prevent pandemics and create essential new jobs’. - Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International
Nature is currently declining at rates unseen in human history, with up to one million species threatened by extinction. Against the backdrop of worsening environmental crises, leaders from the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, High Ambition Coalition for nature and people, and the Global Ocean Alliance reaffirmed their commitment to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 and were joined by other mega-biodiverse countries to showcase transformative actions to secure a nature-positive world. Recent research from WWF revealed that 39 million jobs could be created if governments reallocated the $500 billion governments spent on harmful subsidies every year to employment which is nature-positive.
One of the showcased actions at the event included the new 930,000 hectare Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve, the first 5-country biosphere reserve in the world, stretching over Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia declared by UNESCO this month. Other positive examples included plans by Indigenous conservation leaders from Canada to create six new Indigenous-led Protected Areas; the Green Climate Fund is seeking to expand its investments to restore ecosystems while creating jobs across developing countries; Costa Rica expanding their Cocos Island National Park to help achieve the protection of 30% of their ocean; Nigeria establishing 10 new national parks; and Belgium increasing its global climate funding commitment by 30% from 70 million to 100 million euros annually and transitioning to sustainable food systems.
‘Our world must not only become more equitable and carbon neutral, but by 2030, it must also become nature positive - and multiple governments and other actors are already supporting this goal’, said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. ‘Today’s outcome will take us a big and necessary step closer to securing a nature-positive world through transformative actions and funding that will be key to securing an ambitious agreement which will ensure there is more nature in the world in 2030 than there was at the start of the decade. It’s time to focus on what’s necessary, not only what is politically negotiable. Today's show of leadership is a step in that direction’.
World leaders, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez, and Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, all make contributions to the event, which was held in New York and virtually.
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In total, 92 world leaders now support a global goal to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, 72 countries support a target to protect at least 30% of both the world’s land and ocean by 2030 and an additional 31 countries support a target to protect at least 30% of the world's ocean. Together these three coalitions represent 120 countries, 41% of global GDP and 32% of the world population.
**To reverse the decline in biodiversity by 2030, analysis from the Paulson Institute suggests that, globally, we need to spend between US$ 722-967 billion each year over the next ten years. That puts the biodiversity financing gap at an average US$ 711 billion or between US$ 598-824 billion per year.
***Each will assess their impact on nature, set targets and disclose their progress in their annual reports before 2025, thereby making an important contribution to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 and reducing any existing investments which are harmful to nature.
The Leaders Pledge for Nature is a commitment to reverse biodiversity loss by the end of the decade which was launched at the UN General Assembly in 2020. The pledge is a direct response to the need for urgent and immediate global action to address our interdependent biodiversity, climate and health crises. It has so far been endorsed by 90 world leaders, including six G7 countries, 8 G20 countries and several of the world’s top biodiversity-rich countries such as the UK, France, Germany, Colombia and Costa Rica, representing over 37% GDP and over a quarter of the world population. It is also supported by more than 80 organisations including WWF, the World Health Organization, Conservation International, BirdLife International. Leaders have committed to review their progress and reaffirm their commitments to the pledge at the High-Level Event on 22 September.
The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People is an intergovernmental group of 72 countries co-chaired by Costa Rica and France and by the UK as Ocean co-chair, championing a global deal for nature and people with the central goal of protecting at least 30 percent of world’s land and ocean by 2030. The 30x30 target is a global target which aims to halt the accelerating loss of species, and protect vital ecosystems that are the source of our economic security.
The Global Ocean Alliance is a 100-country strong alliance, led by the UK. Its aim is to protect at least 30% of the global ocean in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) by 2030. This is known as the “30by30 target”.