A Paris-style U.N. meeting on nature is set to take place next week in Rome, Italy, where world leaders will gather to discuss proposed measures to protect almost a third of the world’s oceans and land, reported The Guardian.
A statement signed by 23 diplomats, including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, targets the planet’s warming oceans as the focus for conservation efforts because of their importance in creating food for billions of people around the world. Leaders are calling on governments to “step back from the precipice” of irreversible ecological ruin and commit to saving the planet from the destruction humans have caused.
As part of the 20-point proposals to reverse biodiversity loss, the draft asks that countries make a commitment to save 30 percent of the planet, reduce pollution from plastic waste by 50 percent, and implement measures to control invasive species.
“The loss and degradation of nature jeopardizes human health, livelihoods, safety and prosperity. It disproportionately harms our poorest communities while undermining our ability to meet a broad range of targets set by the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. We must rise above politics and ideology to unite the global community around the urgent cause of protecting our planet and way of life.”
The statement continues by warning that humanity sits on the precipice of a climate crisis that threatens the future of generations to come. It also names the excessive exploitation of natural resources and ecosystem degradation as serious threats to international security and urges the world to take immediate action.
The draft gives special attention to conservation of the world’s oceans. Writing that the oceans cover 70 percent of the planet, the diplomats add that even people who live inland depend on the ocean for half the oxygen they breathe and that it also provides 3 billion people with their main source of protein. The statement urges world leaders to not only commit to protecting 30 percent of the oceans, but also to managing the entirety of their ocean territories in a manner that is sustainable, equitable, and integrated across sectors.
The U.N.’s new biodiversity chief has warned that if world leaders cannot come to a consensus this year to stop the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of the natural world, humanity will have “given up” on planet Earth.
Acting executive secretary of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity Elizabeth Maruma Mrema commented that the risks will be major if world leaders continue to ignore science and evidence. She added that if the evidence provided is ignored, it means that the global community is saying that biodiversity loss should continue, people should continue to die, and degradation, deforestation, and pollution should continue.
“…we’ll have given up as an international community to save the planet. I hope that’s not where any of us would want to be.”