22 September 2021

Nature-Based Solutions, Actions Offer Hope for Endangered Planet, Climate Crisis, Deputy Secretary-General Tells High-Level Event

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message for the high-level event “Transformative Action for Nature and People”, held today:

I would like to start by thanking the President of Costa Rica, Mr. Carlos Alvarado-Quesada, for organizing this timely high-level event.

We have all seen the headlines.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report that Secretary-General Guterres called a code-red for humanity.  But we don’t have to look at the headlines.  We can look out the window.  The war on nature is impacting people across the planet, particularly the most vulnerable, deepening inequalities and jeopardizing sustainable development.

But there is hope — if we take transformative action now for nature and people.  Let me point to three areas:  first, we need greater investment in nature and the services it provides to humanity.  The world has lost half of its forests and coral reefs and 70 per cent of its wetlands.  Investing in nature will have a positive impact on human health, livelihoods and can help lift people out of poverty.  Every dollar spent on ecosystem restoration yields at least $9 of economic benefits.

To meet climate, biodiversity and land degradation targets, however, financial flows to nature-based solutions must triple by 2030 and increase four-fold by 2050.  This means boosting public investment and unlocking private finance at a greater scale through blended instruments, fiscal and trade policies, and other incentives.

Second, to halt the degradation of nature, we must transform how we produce and consume.  We can rein in pollution while reducing waste; we need to build robust, circular economies and move away from fossil fuels to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century.

Finally, we need to reinvigorate cooperation, mobilize resources and political will for an ambitious post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.  We have the opportunity of leveraging platforms such as the UN climate, biodiversity and desertification COPs [Conference of the Parties] in the next months to mobilize transformative action from all stakeholders.

Let us work together toward a nature-positive, net-zero emissions future.  We can and we must make peace with nature.

For information media. Not an official record.