New York

28 September 2020

Secretary-General's video message on Leaders' Pledge for Nature

Excellencies, colleagues, 

A planetary emergency is upon us. 

Driven by the dual threats of the climate crisis and biodiversity collapse, this emergency is threatening people and planet.  

We are at war with nature. And nature is fighting back.  

Biodiversity disasters are underway even as we speak.  

Oil spills are devastating marine ecosystems; deforestation and forest fires are killing people and destroying habitats, with incalculable economic costs.  

Even the COVID-19 pandemic speaks to our dysfunctional relationship with nature.  

We have failed to meet any of the biodiversity targets that were set in Japan ten years ago. Progress on almost half is described as poor.  

The problems include significant funding shortfalls and a lack of monitoring tools. 

But the main issue, as always, is lack of political will. 

We need to find a better way.  

We need a new Global Biodiversity Framework that addresses the drivers of biodiversity loss and provides a roadmap for implementation. 

And we need to scale up nature-based solutions like the Great Green Wall across sub-Saharan Africa, which provides natural protection against natural disasters while capturing carbon emissions and creating decent jobs. 

This makes sense for our planet and our economies.  

From fisheries to tourism, over one billion jobs are linked with nature. 

I commend the ambitious governments participating today that are calling for thirty percent of land and marine resources to be protected by 2030. 

I thank you all for taking this leadership further by launching the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature. 

We urgently need to raise our ambition in the vital months between this week’s Biodiversity Summit and COP15 next May in Kunming. 

I count on all leaders – government and private sector alike – to make decisive commitments to protect our planet and all life on it. 

Let’s make next year, 2021, into Nature Year.  

The year when we change course and start rebuilding the beauty and bounty of our world.  

Thank you.