MPs join NGOs in calling for strong UK leadership at UN Biodiversity Summit

A group of MPs has joined green groups in pledging to “stand up for a nature-positive world” by urging the UK Government to take up a stronger position in negotiations for a global framework to halt biodiversity loss.

MPs join NGOs in calling for strong UK leadership at UN Biodiversity Summit

Earlier this week, 10 NGOs held a Westminster reception, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Environment, to urge the UK Government to help steer discussions at the upcoming UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 summit.

The UN unveiled draft plans for the summit in July 2021. The plan states that “urgent political action” is needed “globally, regionally and nationally to transform economic, social and financial models so that the trends that have exacerbated biodiversity loss will stabilise in the next ten years and allow for the recovery of natural ecosystems in the following 20 years”.

The NGOs, which include WWF UK, The Wildlife Trusts, RSPB and the Green Alliance, were joined by more than 50 MPs and Peers across all political parties. The MPs have pledged to take action, telling their constituents that they would “stand up for a nature positive world”.

Caroline Lucas MP, who is leading a COP15 debate in the UK Parliament, said: “The climate and nature emergencies are two sides of the same coin, demanding an urgent and joined-up strategy. COP15 is our best chance to galvanise international action – to work towards a nature-positive economy, and protect and restore biodiversity for future generations to come. Our window of opportunity is rapidly closing – we need to seize it.”

The conference is to be hosted later this year under the Chinese Presidency to agree on a new global framework after it was split into a two-part event, with the first round of discussions having taken place online. Almost 3,000 delegates participated in the 15th CBD, also known as the Biodiversity COP, the UN said in a statement. Around 2,500 of them attended virtually due to Covid-19.

The first round of talks helped to set the stage for the adoption of the UN’s post-2020 biodiversity targets internationally. In its current form, the draft plan outlines pledges to halt nature loss by 2030 and deliver a net-positive impact thereafter, that humanity may “live in harmony with nature” in all geographies by 2050.

Growing calls

The MPs join various green groups and investors in calling for an ambitious agreement to be delivered at COP15.

Last year, a group of investors worth more than $10.6trn in assets under management issued a statement ahead of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP15 next month, calling for heightened global action to end deforestation and ensure sustainable land use.

Coordinated by Ceres and the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation, the statement has been sent to world leaders on behalf of 78 financial institutions representing $10.61trn in assets under management. Signatories to letter include the likes of Aviva, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse AG, and Robeco.

Additionally, an open letter from the CBD-Alliance has called for the draft proposals to be rejected in favour of more ambitious action plans aimed at protecting biodiversity. The Alliance notes that the proposed framework fails to properly integrate feedback on the earlier drafts that were submitted to the CBD.

Research from the World Economic Forum’s Future Of Nature And Business study, found that realigning the global economy towards a nature-positive future could deliver $10trn of annual business opportunities and 395 million jobs by 2030.

APPG environment chair Chris Skidmore MP added: “Parliamentarians from all parties, and their constituents, want to protect and restore the natural environment. The United Kingdom must do all it can to ensure COP15 is seen as a globally important moment for nature and show leadership on this issue, including by accelerating the shift to a nature positive world.”

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