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‘Be part of the plan’ to end nature loss on Biodiversity Day

The appeal on the International Day for Biological Diversity urges governments to fully implement a landmark agreement to halt and reverse nature loss by mid-century, adopted by 196 Member States in 2022. 

Safeguarding nature

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework aims to restore ecosystems while creating jobs, building resilience, and spurring sustainable development.  

Named for the cities in China and Canada where negotiations were held, it is also known as the Biodiversity Plan. 

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Concrete measures include protecting 30 per cent of the planet’s lands, coastal areas and inland waters by 2030.

Biodiversity ‘web’ unravelling 

In his message to mark the International Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the “complex web of biodiversity” which sustains all life on Earth is “unravelling at alarming speed – and  humanity is to blame.” 

“We are contaminating land, oceans, and freshwater with toxic pollution, wrecking landscapes and ecosystems, and disrupting our precious climate with greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. 

The UN’s biodiversity chief, David Cooper, added that a whole range of species are increasingly in danger.

One example is amphibians, particularly in some tropical areas, where they are confronting a combination of land use change, climate change and disease. 

Coral reefs under threat 

“Another major category that’s really threatened are coral reefs… because of climate change interacting with coastal development, overfishing and the like,” he told UN News.   “We are losing coral reefs through coral bleaching and other problems related to climate change.”  

Many important insect species responsible for pollinating fruits and vegetables could also disappear. 

“Already for those animal pollinated crops, the yield potential, the production potential, is a third less than it would be because of declines in the abundance and in the diversity of pollinators,” he added.  

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The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework offers a pathway to recovery, and on the International Day, the UN urged people everywhere to ‘Be part of the Plan’ by supporting its implementation. 

Speaking at a celebration in Nairobi, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Inger Andersen, emphasized that “biodiversity is not just a word, it’s life”. 

“And this plan…that Member States have designed is the plan for life, and therefore implementing that plan is everything,” she said. 

Harmony with nature 

As Mr. Cooper noted, young people have been major advocates for the plan, and they were critical to the negotiations that led to its adoption. 

Along with other vulnerable groups such as children, women, Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendent communities, they suffer most from the negative impacts of nature loss, said Heitor Dellasta of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN), speaking at the event in Nairobi. 

He said the Biodiversity Plan “can set us on course towards a world that’s living in harmony with nature, but only if it’s implemented fully, implemented by all, and leaves no one behind.” 

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