Celebrating International Day of Biological Diversity: from agreement to action

Today the world comes together to celebrate the importance and diversity of nature, and to focus on the urgent actions we must now take to protect it and its use is sustainable for the future of all life on Earth. International Day of Biological Diversity is observed to acknowledge our relationship with the natural world, promote awareness and amplify efforts to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.

This year's theme, “From agreement to action: build back biodiversity” calls on communities at all scales – across governments and local communities, civil society and the private sector – to step up and show their commitment to moving from the agreement of new targets for nature, to action, so that we realise these vital commitments before it is too late.

On this International Day for Biological Diversity we must recognise that if we are to tackle climate change, food and water insecurity, address many of the physical and health challenges we face, and to sustain our societies and economies, then nature is our greatest ally.

UNEP-WCMC Director Neville Ash

From an historic agreement to effective action

The COP15 UN Biodiversity Conference in December last year saw the landmark adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) and related package of decisions.

This international plan for nature means 196 countries around the world have committed to four overarching nature conservation, sustainability and finance goals by 2050 and 23 specific targets by 2030. The 2030 action targets range from increasing the coverage of protected areas and areas under restoration, slashing food waste and harmful subsidies and ensuring the global community channels vital financing and resources into safeguarding the natural world.  

The GBF was more than four years in the making, and the team from across UNEP-WCMC’s impact and innovation areas were involved throughout, supporting the negotiations and providing technical expertise that helped shape the framework and its support package, including on the monitoring framework adopted at COP15. This included our Protected Planet and connectivity experts, through to our Science and Policy teams who supplied guidance on monitoring, metrics and progress tracking, to our gender leads who worked with UN Women to ensure inclusivity within the GBF, and helped realise the aligned Gender Plan of Action.

Now, UNEP-WCMC is busy helping governments, businesses and financial institutions, and conservation and development partners around the world to take on board and make meaningful progress towards the new targets.

Examples include our Nature Economy team and TRADE Hub consortium projects, who are helping producers, businesses and financial investors understand how to measure impacts and dependencies on nature, and transform their operations in light of the crucial link between biodiversity and sustainable trade and development.

Our Science and Policy teams are also heavily involved in helping countries and the UN system in moving from agreement to action. Our National Ecosystem Assessment Initiative helps countries conduct comprehensive reviews of nature and its contributions to people, and our guidance and technical support on national biodiversity strategies will be made available through projects like the recently re-launched NBSAP Forum 2.0. We also have a crucial role to play in assisting the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity with developing metrics and indicators to ensure the global community can robustly track global progress and country-level contributions to the ambitions of the GBF.

Across our work on nature conservation and restoration, nature-based solutions and the nature economy – and based on the foundations of science, policy and digital transformation – we’re  supporting governments and the private sector to move from agreement to action and we’re shining a light on progress made.

UNEP-WCMC Director Neville Ash

The world has a collective plan of action for nature to 2030 and beyond. With country-level support, and additional guidance and practical tools for the private sector and civil society coming online all the time, we have the know-how and the impetus to collectively forge ahead for the good of nature, people and the planet. There is no time to lose in putting these resources into action.

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