Speaking at a virtual UN high-level discussion on the International Day of Biodiversity, Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation, noted that the new EU Biodiversity Strategy is in the interest of human and planetary health, food security, economic prosperity and a recovery that makes us more resilient.
The new EU Biodiversity Strategy is an ambitious action plan and part of the implementation of the European Green Deal. It proposes new targets for the EU. It aims at setting aside as protected areas at least 30% of the land and sea in Europe and to restore degraded ecosystems at land and sea across Europe. It will unlock €20 billion each year for biodiversity through various sources (EU, national and private funding). The strategy also looks beyond the boundaries of Europe: it sets out ambition for cooperation with our partners worldwide, in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity and beyond, in support to developing countries.
With this strategy the EU will position itself at the forefront in the global fight for biodiversity. There couldn’t be a better timing for a new strategy. In the middle of a disastrous pandemic, we are all looking for ways to come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient, not only to prevent future pandemics, but also to find new ways to create jobs and to see our economies grow in a more sustainable way.
~Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation
Protecting nature is not only a health issue, important for the prevention of zoonotic diseases, but also more broadly for mental health and well-being. There is a strong climate case for nature, both for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
There is also a powerful economic interest in protecting biodiversity: half of the world’s GDP is linked to nature. In the EU, a quarter of jobs in tourism are linked to protected areas. Each year, inaction costs us trillions in lost ecosystem services.
As the EU Biodiversity Strategy notes, “there is an urgent moral, economic and environmental imperative” to protect, restore and sustainably use nature.
Nature at the top of the Agenda
It is key that our policies are anchored in accurate science-based analyses and recommendations. This September, the UN Summit on Biodiversity—the first time in ten years that Head of State and Government will address the topic—provides a unique opportunity to put nature on the top of the agenda and we should not miss it.
Climate, biodiversity, health, and sustainable production and consumption are closely interrelated and should be tackled in a coherent and inclusive way that brings together businesses, the financial sector, civil society, indigenous peoples, youth and all other citizens on the ground.
The UN Summit on Biodiversity should ignite a global movement for nature in the context of the preparations for the CoP next year and for an ambitious post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.