Today, on the eve of the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit, President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica, called for the formation of a High Ambition Coalition of nations to push for a Deal for Nature that will protect 30% of the planet by 2030. The goal will be to finalize the deal at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming, China in 2020. The governments of the Seychelles, the UAE, Monaco, Gabon, and Mozambique have joined the initiative.
This urgent push stems from an accelerating awareness that the climate emergency and the extinction crisis are interconnected, and that protecting more nature could be our best chance to both sequester carbon and save threatened species. Scientists have concluded that at least one third of climate solutions lie in protecting and restoring our natural world.
President Alvarado of Costa Rica said:
"The fires, floods and ice melts are planetary alarm bells for us humans to act. Costa Rica has heard these wake up calls loud and clear and wants all nations to join us in launching a High Ambition Coalition at the UNFCCC Pre Cop In San Jose, committing to protect 30% of our planet by 2030. If we urgently unite now we can restore and conserve nature, feed our people, and build thriving economies."
His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment said:
“We must open our eyes to the cruel fact that climate change is progressing faster than we are, and we need to pick up the pace to win this fight. We realize the gravity of the task at hand, but are confident that together we can build the necessary global momentum to save the natural world we value and on which we depend so much. We are proud to join the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People. We share the coalition’s vision to chart an ambitious path toward protecting nature worldwide.”
Earlier this year the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ (IPBES) Global Assessment found 1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction and called for ‘Transformative changes’ to protect nature. At the same time, top scientists published A Global Deal for Nature as a “companion pact to the Paris Agreement” stating that 30% of Earth needs to be formally protected and an additional 20% designated as climate stabilization areas, by 2030, to stay below 1.5°C.
One of the authors and Explorer in Residence at National Geographic, Enric Sala said:
“We ought to stop the unplugging of our life support system. Without a healthy natural world the future of humanity will be grim. The good news is that we know what to do, and visionary countries are leading the way by committing to protect 30% of our planet by 2030.”
The proposal is a science based target that seeks to protect 30% of the planet in key biodiversity areas. Ninety countries have already protected more than 17% of their land, 27 have protected more than 30 percent, and a few are close to or even past protecting half of their land. The protected marine surface area has jumped from 0.7 percent of the total ocean in 2000 to about seven percent today — a near ten-fold increase.