50 countries pledge to protect 30% of the planet’s land and oceans | Preservation

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A coalition of 50 countries has pledged to protect nearly a third of the planet by 2030 to stop the destruction of the natural world and slow the extinctions of wildlife.

The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, which includes the UK and countries from six continents, pledged to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans ahead of the One Planet summit in Paris Monday, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Scientists said human activities are causing the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth, and agricultural production, mining and pollution threaten the functioning of vital ecosystems essential to human civilization.

In the announcement, the HAC said protecting at least 30% of the planet for nature by the end of the decade was crucial to preventing mass extinctions of plants and animals and ensuring natural production. clean air and water.

This commitment will likely be the main objective of the “Paris Agreement for Nature” to be negotiated at Cop15 in Kunming, China, later this year. The HAC said it hoped swift engagements from countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Pakistan and Canada would ensure it forms the basis of the UN deal.

UK Environment Minister Zac Goldsmith said: “We know there is no way to tackle climate change that does not involve a massive increase in our efforts to protect and restore nature. . So, as the co-host of the next Climate Cop, the UK is absolutely committed to leading the global fight against biodiversity loss and we are proud to act as co-chair of the High Ambition Coalition.

“We have a huge opportunity at this year’s biodiversity conference in China to forge an agreement to protect at least 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030. I hope our shared ambition will help curb the global decline of the natural environment, so vital to the survival of our planet.

However, despite support for the goal from several countries, many indigenous activists have said that increasing nature conservation areas could lead to land grabs and human rights violations.

The High Ambition Coalition was formed at Durban UNFCCC Cop in 2011 with the aim of encouraging ambitious international action on the climate crisis before the Paris Agreement. By promoting actions on biodiversity loss, it is hoped that HAC’s early commitments will ensure a successful deal for nature.

Brazil has been accused of hampering biodiversity negotiations in the same way Saudi Arabia negotiated for the Paris Agreement.

Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister Andrea Meza said: “Protecting 30% of the planet will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for our citizens and help us to create a just, carbon-free and resilient society. Healing and restoring nature is a key step towards human well-being, the creation of millions of quality green and blue jobs and the achievement of the 2030 agenda, especially as part of our sustainable recovery efforts.

“We have a moral and pragmatic imperative to come together, to take strong decisions that will allow us to take one more step towards halting the loss of biodiversity and achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement.”

Along with the announcement, the UK government has also committed £ 3 billion in UK international climate finance to support nature and biodiversity over the next five years.

Ahead of Monday’s One Planet summit, Prince Charles urged companies to invest in the health of the planet and people by launching a sustainable finance charter called Terra Carta – the Earth Charter. UN Secretary General António Guterres and Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng will also speak at the One Planet summit.

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