BirdLife at the IUCN World Conservation Congress
Despite the ongoing COVID pandemic, amid the escalating climate and biodiversity emergencies, BirdLife CEO Patricia Zurita led a small policy delegation to the just-closed International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Marseille.
As Global Director of Science & Policy, I joined Patricia and Head of Policy Noelle Kumpel, with BirdLife Partners from France, the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Cabo Verde, Zimbabwe, Palau, and the Dominican Republic. We were all part of a throng of over 5000 in-person delegates. Other BirdLife Partners joined 3000 others online.
We were thrilled to help elect Razan Al Mubarak as President, the first woman from the Arab world to head the IUCN.
Our window of opportunity to respond to these interlinked emergencies and share planetary resources equitably is narrowing quickly – we heard repeatedly that ‘the time is now’ – and powerfully that ‘there is no vaccine for a sick planet’. Critical was the adoption by delegates from governments, the private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations and Community-Based Organisations of a motion on the need for a strong and ambitious global biodiversity framework that provides a clear, measurable, action-orientated roadmap to equitably halt and reverse biodiversity loss and secure a nature-positive world by 2030, to support all life on Earth now and for future generations.
Importantly, this was one of two key motions which called to work with local stakeholders to protect and conserve 30% of the planet by 2030, focusing on key areas for biodiversity. But at the same time, two emergency motions which were strongly supported by BirdLife Partners from around the world highlighted the threats to the Wadden Sea and Okavango World Heritage sites from oil and gas exploitation, calling for governments and businesses to uphold their commitments to safeguard. This underscores the critical need for high-level commitments to translate into real action on the ground, as well as to address climate change and link the biodiversity and climate agendas.
Patricia Zurita said “Humanity finds itself at a tipping point – and the global meetings happening over the coming months on biodiversity and climate must be seen as the turning point where we address these crises – we need to take the ambition and commitments articulated passionately and clearly in Marseille to the UN General Assembly in September, to the UNFCCC climate COP in Glasgow in November and the final Convention on Biological Diversity negotiations and COP of the Global Biodiversity Framework early next year. “