International Day for Biological Diversity

May 22, 2020

On the International Day for Biological Diversity I urge everyone, everywhere to consider the world around us.

As we contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat posed by biodiversity loss and climate change has not receded. This global challenge amplifies the fragility of our way of life, our health systems and our global economy; exacerbating the inequalities that threaten the existence of our most vulnerable communities.

These issues are interconnected. Hunger has been on the rise for the past three years, and prior to the disruption caused by the coronavirus, there were 821 million people undernourished with 2 billion people experiencing malnutrition. Food security is being undercut by biodiversity loss, desertification and shocks due to climate change, with one million animal and plant species facing extinction.

This year marks the beginning of the Decade of Action and Delivery for the Sustainable Development Goals, and is a ‘super year’ focused on nature.

Nature-based solutions have the capacity to protect, sustainably manage and restore both natural and modified ecosystems. They can address the challenges posed by climate change, natural disasters, and food and water security.

The UN Summit on Biodiversity, scheduled to take place in September, is the key moment to build political momentum and commit to ensuring progress to achieve the 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in line with the 2030 Agenda.

I call on world leaders, the private sector and civil society to chart a way forward through a whole-of society approach, to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services, and advance nature-based solutions for people and planet.

There is still time to reverse our loss of nature, but we must act now.

On this International Day for Biological Diversity, let us commit to increased ambition in amplifying the potential of nature-based solutions. Let us build back better, and place nature at the heart of sustainable development for inclusive, resilient and sustainable societies at the local, national and global levels.