Ambitious, Transformative Biodiversity Framework Crucial for Future Generations, Secretary-General Says, Urging Countdown Event to Be ‘a Wake-Up Call’

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to Countdown to the fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15):  Leaders’ Event for a Nature-Positive World, today:

Today’s suicidal war on nature will have devastating consequences for us all.  It is fuelling the climate crisis, driving species to extinction and destroying ecosystems.  It is making growing areas of our planet inhospitable, driving conflict and pandemics, and jeopardizing our Sustainable Development Goals.

We need to act now.  Urgently and at scale.  Biodiversity is the web of life that connects all our lives.  In Montreal, this December, at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, the world must agree on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

It is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss.  We need to make peace with nature and deliver on our environmental agreements, including the Paris Agreement [on climate change] and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Global Biodiversity Framework must be a comprehensive plan that propels transformative change in how we value nature, in how we use our natural resources and how we protect our planet for generations to come.

It must establish ambitious targets to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, sharpen climate action, build sustainable cities and food systems, and strengthen public planning.  And it must provide financing to invest in nature and a sustainable future, including means of implementation.

We must eliminate the harmful subsidies that destroy nature and equitably share the benefits that nature brings.  The Global Biodiversity Framework must encompass everyone, including indigenous peoples and local communities, the private sector and civil society, as full partners.  But if negotiations continue at their current slow pace, we are headed for failure in Montreal.

Today’s event should be a wake-up call for all of us.  I urge all leaders here to send a strong signal of their commitment to tackle the biodiversity crisis head-on.  We absolutely must secure an ambitious and transformative agenda at the end of the year.  We simply cannot fail.  For the sake of this generation and those to come.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.