NOTAt the start of two years after the first reported case of Covid-19, the world still faces the repercussions. At the same time, the scale of our planetary emergency – climate crisis, loss of biodiversity and inequalities – has become evident. As we rebuild our societies and economies, we face a unique opportunity to build a nature-friendly future that we must not let slip. It is time for all of us to chart a planetary response to our planetary crisis – one that puts nature at the center.
Our shared global experience with Covid-19 underscored the interconnection of our different systems. The science is clear: climate, biodiversity and human health are totally interdependent. Yet in discussions around the post-Covid recovery, nature is not yet sufficiently recognized as an essential piece of the puzzle of a resilient future for all.
A fair, green and positive nature recovery is a crucial first step towards emergence. It holds incredible potential – from creating 395 million jobs worldwide to producing $ 10.1 billion (Â£ 7.4 billion) in economic value by 2030 – if it is anchored in the long-term systemic transformation of our societies and economies. This does not mean that the path to transformation is easy. However, inaction would be the worst option of all – we would not only miss $ 10 billion in potential economic value, but we would lose an additional $ 10 billion or more globally over the next 30 years.
The Planetary Emergency Plan, published by the Club of Rome and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, identifies key actions that support a paradigm shift from limiting the damage we cause to the world through our daily activities to a world where we improve and restore the health of ecosystems. The plan calls on governments and sectors to adopt commitments to protect our global commons and to develop national and sectoral roadmaps for regenerative land use and green, inclusive and circular societies.
By shifting to regenerative models and reforming our food systems, for example, we are simultaneously tackling global health issues such as air pollution and malnutrition, regenerating our lands, forests and rivers, improving our capacity. store carbon to achieve net zero and reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases. Within the EU alone, the health co-benefits are estimated to cover 84% of the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (in a 1.5 Â° C scenario).
Global awareness of the essential role of nature is growing slowly and we are seeing signs of significant progress. In recent weeks, through the Nature for Life Hub, we’ve seen how different sectors are leading the way for key transformations – from Ecuadorian winners redefining prosperity by creating new models of governance and reconfiguring economic norms by setting the price of carbon, to farmers moving towards regenerative practices. and the conservation of biodiversity. The Global Coral Reef Fund seeks to invest $ 500 million in the conservation and restoration of coral reefs over the next 10 years. A growing number of global political leaders have pledged to create a nature-friendly world by 2030 as part of the Leaders’ Commitment to Nature.
While the momentum is encouraging, it is important that we go beyond commitments and promises. In practice, investments on the ground are still very insufficient. According to new data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), member countries and major partner economies have so far allocated $ 336 billion in positive environmental measures as part of their plans. recovery plan Covid-19. But that is only 17% of the total sums allocated so far to the economic recovery from Covid-19 – policymakers should carefully consider whether this is really enough to rebuild better.
To successfully emerge into a sustainable future that is within the confines of the planet, but also empowers one billion people to lift out of poverty, the transition must be global – we must all walk together towards a sustainable future. nature, in the same direction and with a comparable speed. With the adoption of its biodiversity strategy as part of the European Green Deal, the EU seeks to lead efforts to put nature on the political agenda and mobilize resources for biodiversity not only in the EU , but in partner countries. Recently, the EU pledged to double its external funding for biodiversity, in particular for the most vulnerable countries.
Over the next eight months, world leaders will meet at three global conferences of the parties (COP) (the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention on Climate Change). against desertification) and the Stockholm + 50 conference. These events offer a chance for a global emergency response to our global crisis. Among other things, reaching an agreement on the goal of protecting 30% of the land and 30% of the seas by 2030 will be crucial, and this should be one of the main objectives of next year’s COP15 in Kunming, China.
We must all be part of the solution – dating this emergency. We simply cannot wait. It’s time to act for a positive future for nature – today.
Frans Timmermans is Executive Vice-President of the European Green Deal, Achim Steiner is Administrator of the United Nations Development Program and Sandrine Dixson-DeclÃ¨ve is Co-President of the Club of Rome