Nature is in crisis. The degradation of our ocean, lands, and freshwater systems is destroying the planet’s ability to support life. A million species worldwide face extinction, many within decades. But we have the tools to create a better, healthier future for our planet—and ourselves—if we act now.
That’s the message world leaders are conveying at the United Nations Global Biodiversity Summit today, taking place virtually from New York. While recent crises including wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding are bleak reminders of the devastating consequences of the unhealthy relationship between people and nature, they also provide us with an impetus to rebuild and recover in a way that reflects our dependence on biodiversity and a stable climate.
One of our last and best opportunities to halt biodiversity loss and put nature on a path to recovery is through adopting a transformational global biodiversity framework at the 15th Conference of Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD CoP 15) and swiftly and fully implementing the goals outlined in that plan shortly thereafter. Crucially, leaders must adopt and implement a target to fully and highly protect at least 30 percent of the global ocean and 30 percent of land areas and inland waters by 2030 through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative, and well-connected systems of protected areas.
This plan, known as 30x30, is detailed in NRDC’s newly launched fact sheet, and so far the governments of more than 40 nations, numerous nongovernmental organizations, and prominent scientists and experts around the world support this ambitious framework. This plan additionally calls on the world to strengthen conservation of all remaining areas to stem biodiversity loss, preserve ecosystem services and combat and build resilience to climate change.
Achieving this plan will be challenging, but anything less will not meet the scale of the crisis at hand. World leaders this week committed to reversing biodiversity loss, and now they must follow through on that pledge, adopt a strong 30x30 target at CBD CoP 15, and fully implement it. Our future depends on it.