Leaders from 65 countries recently came together to make a renewed commitment to putting nature on the path to recovery. As reported in Deutsche Welle, the commitments include eliminating plastic leakage to the oceans by 2050 and incentivizing banks and businesses to value the natural world.
While the signatories include key countries like Germany and Bangladesh, some of the world’s biggest polluters did not sign the pledge. The list of absent signatures includes the US, China, India, Russia, and Brazil.
The pledge follows the September publication of a landmark assessment of biodiversity which showed humanity had failed to fully achieve any of the 20 global biodiversity targets set by the UN ten years ago. Just six of them had been “partly achieved,” the report said. For one goal, on protecting coral reefs, the world was found to be moving in the opposite direction.
While this is certainly disheartening, there is a reason for hope. For instance, almost 100 countries have incorporated biodiversity values into national accounting systems. Over the last 20 years, the world has increased the share of protected areas from 10% to 15% on land and from 3% to 7% in water. And we’re seeing more fish in waters managed by good fishing policies.
With the UN biodiversity summit in New York coming this week, we hope nations realize the seriousness of their commitments to nature as we reach a crucial tipping point.