30 September, 2020 / 9:00 a.m. EDT / Webcast: webtv.un.org


Acknowledging that efforts to stem biodiversity loss have failed to achieve sufficient results, the United Nations will host the first ever UN Biodiversity Summit at the 75th General Assembly on 30 September.

Speaking virtually, over 100 world leaders will aim to mobilize concrete action to stem the decline of the planet’s biodiversity, which has seen a 68% loss of vertebrates since 1970. The goal is to build political momentum for the Convention on Biodiversity’s Conference of the Parties (COP15), in Kunming, China in 2021, where world leaders will agree to an ambitious plan of action on biodiversity.

“Kunming needs to turn biodiversity into a household concern and political issue. Everyone must realize the risks of inaction,” said Volkan Bozkir, President of the UN General Assembly.

The Summit takes place as reports show that global efforts have failed to reach any of the 20 biodiversity targets countries set a decade ago, and as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges people to rethink their relationship with nature.

Advocates hope that socio-economic recovery from COVID-19 can be made ‘nature-friendly’, and embrace the ideals and ambitions needed to tackle climate change and biodiversity challenges.

Recent reports have shown that action on biodiversity can bring substantial economic and social benefits. Where fisheries have been regulated and reported, stocks have improved. Where coordinated action has been taken to slow deforestation, habitat loss has been controlled. Ecosystem restoration, when implemented effectively and with the support of local populations, has reversed decades of degradation and watershed protection can save billions of dollars needed for expensive filtration.

The Summit will be convened by the President of the General Assembly at the level of Heads of State and Government under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”

Although the recently released Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report shows some areas of progress, it found that “the natural world is suffering badly and getting worse.”  It found that if the world continues on its current trajectory, biodiversity, and the services it provides, will continue to decline, jeopardizing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

It found that the current trend is projected to continue until 2050 and beyond, due to the increasing impacts of land and sea use change, overexploitation, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species. These pressures are in turn being driven by unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, population growth and technological developments. The projected decline in biodiversity will affect all people, but it will have a particularly detrimental effect on indigenous peoples and local communities, and the world’s poor and vulnerable, given their reliance on biodiversity for their wellbeing.

It is estimated that the world would need 1.7 “Earths” to regenerate the biological resources used by humanity from 2011 to 2016.  At the same time, governments are providing $500 billion in subsidies that potentially cause environmental harm.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of the relationship between people and nature. The destruction and degradation of natural ecosystems undermines the web of life and increases the risk of disease spillover from wildlife to people. Responses to the pandemic demonstrate the need for transformative change as a global community.

There are many actions that can still be taken that are affordable and effective, and the Global Biodiversity Outlook reports recommends eight transitions that need to be addressed on land and forests, sustainable agriculture, sustainable food systems, fisheries and oceans, green cities and infrastructure, freshwater, climate change, and health.

Visit the website:  https://www.un.org/pga/74/united-nations-summit-on-biodiversity/

Hashtags:  #fornature #biodiversitysummit 

For further information, please contact:

  • Office of the President of the General Assembly: Carl Mercer, Communications Adviser, carl.mercer@un.org, +13476525933
  • Department of UN Global Communications: Dan Shepard, Information Officer, +16466753286, shepard@un.org
  • Convention on Biological Diversity: David Ainsworth, Head of Communications +15612720 david.ainsworth@un.org
  • UN Environment: Keishamaza Rukikaire, Public Information Officer, +35799170276 rukikaire@un.org 
  • United Nations Development Programme: Boaz Paldi, COVID19 Crisis Communication Manager +12129918910 boaz.paldi@undp.org