By Jaya Ramachandran
PARIS (IDN) – The global health crisis of the COVID 19 came as a dramatic reminder of the importance of Nature for our daily lives and economies: biodiversity is our life insurance. Yet, the damage to ecosystems is unprecedented and will have major consequences on our lifestyles in the decades to come.
According to knowledgeable sources, reversing this trend is a major challenge for the coming decade. This global challenge requires concerted action at all levels (international, national, local) and by all actors (governments, international organizations, businesses, associations, citizens, etc.).
To contribute to this, France organized, in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Bank, a ‘One Planet Summit’ for biodiversity on January 11, 2021 in Paris. It was an opportunity to raise the level of ambition of the international community on the protection of nature, while responding to the new questions raised by the crisis.
The Summit agreed on four cardinal action commitments on biodiversity: protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems; promotion of agroecology; finance for biodiversity; and protecting forests, species and human health.
France and Costa Rica have launched the ‘High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People’, which aims to create the conditions for the adoption of an ambitious nature protection target by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the end of the year.
To date, these efforts have brought 52 States behind the Coalition, committing to work for the protection of 30% of terrestrial and marine spaces by 2030.
Another Coalition for an Exemplary Mediterranean in 2030 was launched on January 15 by France, Spain and the Principality of Monaco. It is built around four commitments: (1) developing a network of protected areas; (2) ending overfishing; (3) fighting marine pollution and ending single-use plastic; (4) greening maritime transport.
This Coalition will continue its efforts to bring on board other Mediterranean rim States, as well as regional and local actors, civil society and the private sector.
Meanwhile Germany has confirmed the launch of the Legacy Landscape Fund, a new global public-private coalition aimed at providing sustainable public and private finance to the most valuable protected areas in developing countries and emerging economies.
It was recently established by Germany in collaboration with various partners, including France, and will support long-lasting cooperation between authorities responsible for protected areas, experienced NGOs, and indigenous and local communities.
Acknowledging that agroecology helps preserve biodiversity while addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and creating jobs, this One Planet Summit decided to make it a key aspect of international efforts. This issue is particularly important in Africa, where the effects of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss are combining and threaten many countries’ food security.
As such, a programme has been established, called the “Great Green Wall Accelerator” (GGW Accelerator). This multi-stakeholder initiative aims to catalyse financial efforts by all donors, giving new impetus to this ambitious African initiative, launched in the 1980s, to green the Sahel. The initiative’s partners have pledged almost €14 billion ($16.85 billion) in international finance for the 11 countries concerned by 2025. Some $14.3 billion has already been budgeted.
The President of the European Commission announced that it could contribute more than €2.5 billion in its upcoming programming that is being prepared. More than a hundred private companies, grouped around the IAM AFRICA (International Agroecological Movement for Africa) charter, have also committed to contribute to the implementation of agroecological transition objectives in the Great Green Wall countries.
A secretariat, attached to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), has been created to follow up on these commitments.
Finance for biodiversity
At the instigation of The Prince of Wales, the Natural Capital Investment Alliance was announced. HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management, Lombard Odier and Mirova are already participating. It brings together financial actors wishing to increase their investments in biodiversity restoration and aims to raise $10 billion for nature by 2022.
The Summit laid the foundations for a coalition for convergence of climate and biodiversity finance, aimed at building more synergies between climate action and biosphere conservation. Its members will work to increase the share of their climate finance that also benefits biodiversity. This principle was supported at the One Planet Summit by Canada, France, Norway and the United Kingdom.
The Summit generated political momentum, particularly from Canada, France and the United Kingdom, for the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD). This initiative, promoted by public and private stakeholders, including 50-odd leading financial institutions, will develop a framework for measuring the risks, impacts and benefits of economic activities with regard to biodiversity – like the TCFD for the climate.
Finally, Canada announced a contribution of up to CA$55 million (€35.3 million) to the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, to support sustainable management and restoration of land, particularly in Africa. France also announced it would join the initiative. With this announcement, which will help foster additional private sector investments, the Fund could achieve the goals set when it was launched, at the December 2017 One Planet Summit.
Protecting forests, species and human health
France launched the PREZODE (PREventing ZOonotic Diseases Emergence) initiative, which will establish unprecedented international cooperation between research actors and health vigilance networks, supported notably by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, for the prevention of new pandemics originating from animal reservoirs.
Created in liaison with numerous European research actors, the initiative now has more than 400 researchers and human, animal and environmental health actors involved worldwide.
The One Planet Summit was the occasion for a stocktake of the Alliance for Rainforests, announced at the 2019 Group of Seven. Germany and the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced their membership of the Alliance. [IDN-InDepthNews – 18 January 2021]
Photo: Virtual One Planet Summit: Credit: First Channel of German TV
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