Philanthropies pledge $5b to conserve nature at global summit
• Buhari, others commit to UN biodiversity treaty
Nine philanthropic organisations have launched the ‘Protecting Our Planet Challenge’ and pledged $5 billion to protect and conserve 30 per cent of the planet by 2030 through support for protected areas and indigenous stewardship of their territories.
The pledges, made at a high-level event on the margins of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, mark the largest-ever philanthropic commitment to nature conservation.
President Muhammadu Buhari was part of African Heads of the state that participated in the event and demonstrated the level of ambition necessary for the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity deal to be a success. The event resulted in additional financing commitments to help close the biodiversity funding gap.
The science-based 30×30 target has emerged as a central element of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s draft 10-year strategy, which is expected to be approved at COP15 in Kunming, China in April 2022. Indigenous leaders welcomed the announcements as a sign of how the 30×30 target could be aligned with human rights.
Throughout the Convention on Biological Diversity negotiations, African countries have led calls for more financing to support biodiversity conservation. A landmark report found that current global spending on biodiversity needs to be increased by more than a factor of five to protect the most important biodiversity and the services it provides, and transition to a system of sustainable agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.
Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, Yannick Glemarec, committed close to $9 billion to restore ecosystems while creating jobs: sending a strong signal on the importance of nature in addressing the climate crisis and sustaining livelihoods.
Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said the European Union would double its external funding for biodiversity. The additional €4 billion ($4.7 billion) from 2021-2027 will assist the most vulnerable countries.
Chancellor Merkel of Germany also reiterated support for the 30×30 target and the country’s pledge to increase international climate financing to a yearly €6 billion ($7 billion) by 2025 at the latest.
Buhari committed to regional and interregional coordination, which Nigeria is currently championing. These include, “the expansion of protected areas, including the establishment of 10 new national parks across the country, as well as creation of marine protected areas, pursuant to the 30×30 agenda of the CBD.”
In his remarks, President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, said: “As we are preparing for the next Council of the Parties on Biodiversity, I urge humanity to make strong and concrete commitments. It is time for humanity to make peace with nature for the sake of present and future generations.”