Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2020. 10:41 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Belize is one of seventy countries across five continents to commit to a Leaders’ Pledge for Nature initiated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week.
The others are the European Union (including, separately, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Norway, and Slovakia); Bhutan, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Peru, Seychelles, and the United Kingdom.
The UNDP reports that Leaders Pledge for Nature commits to ten urgent actions to put nature on a path to recovery by 2030, a collective signal to the worldwide UN Biodiversity Summit held on September 30, prioritizing nature, climate and people to face the current planetary emergency. The ten actions at the center of the pledge include building clear political will through a transformational new global biodiversity framework, putting nature at the heart of COVID recovery, addressing climate change and strengthening financial and non-financial support for implementation.
According to UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, “Citizens across the world [are] perhaps beginning to believe that leadership in politics and business and civil society [are] finally taking that challenge of looking after the nature of our planet more seriously. But very often, Indigenous peoples are the forgotten stewards of biodiversity, they are part of this global effort and they must be an integral and active part of the solution.”
Steiner spoke with President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada; Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg; Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau; and Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), along with leaders from business, youth, finance, cities, faith, indigenous people and civil society.
Global leaders stressed the COVID-19 pandemic as a critical ‘reset’ for humanity, emphasizing the urgent need to change course in the next ten years. Trudeau called on the nine other largest countries in the world to join Canada in their commitment to the Leaders Pledge and Solberg proposed a coalition of business and governments to meet the one-billion-dollar annual finance gap needed to end tropical deforestation this decade.
Representatives from major funding agencies, private sector and UN agencies echoed these calls to action, stressing the need for collaboration across sectors.
“With the pledges, with the commitment for action now, clearly, the post-2020 framework will equally be transformative, innovative, action-oriented, as expected,” stated Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
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