50 countries committed to protecting 30% of planet by 2030News

James Marshall
January 13, 2021

While some decried the one-day One Planet Summit hosted by French president Emmanuel Macron, others say it is reassuring that world leaders are finally recognising the importance of protecting ecosystems for the survival of the human species.

Diplomacy on climate issues took a back seat past year as countries worldwide struggled to contain the pandemic and its economic effects.

Indigenous peoples in particular are wary over the proposed expansion of protected areas, pointing to cases in Africa and Asia where such measures have led to eviction from their ancestral lands.

Merkel also appealed to the global community to stop the destruction of the world's forests.

Britain will allocate 3 billion pounds ($4 billion) over five years to projects aimed at protecting and restoring nature and biodiversity, Johnson said on Monday.

Heir to the British throne, the Prince of Wales, called for stepped up action on biodiversity preservation, stating that consensus, intentions and targets are good "first steps", but practical effort is overdue. It aims to prevent the collapse of natural systems that provide us, along with all of the planet's creatures, with clean air, a stable climate, clean water, and food.

EU Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen said the EU was climate issues through the "Horizon Europe" research initiative.

About 30 leaders, government officials and heads of global organizations were to attend, including U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"We know even more clearly amid the crisis we are going through that all our vulnerabilities are interrelated", Macron said.

The French leader said the world is seeing the impacts of overexploitation of natural resources including rising poverty, inequality, public health crises and security concerns.

What issues were on the summit agenda?

Adding: "In 2010 our leaders signed "ambitious goals to protect wildlife and ecosystems.' By 2021 they'd failed on every single one".

Boosting funding to protect biodiversity. It warned that the ruthless demand for earth's resources had resulted in one million plant and animal species facing extinction within decades, with implications for public health.

The coalition said looking after forests, oceans and other ecosystems that are vital habitats for threatened plants and animals could also help drive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia was not among the 50 countries listed by the High Ambition Coalition, which also included Japan, Italy and Ireland.

More than 50 countries have committed to protecting at least 30 percent of the planet's land and ocean areas to promote biodiversity.

Around 30 leaders, government officials and heads of worldwide organizations were scheduled to attend.

China, represented by Vice Premier Han Zheng, agreed that "collective efforts" are needed.

The event, organized by France, the United Nations and the World Bank, took place without top USA officials, as President-elect Joe Biden, a strong proponent of climate issues, does not take office until January 20.

The Trump administration has not been a big actor on global climate policy.The US formally withdrew from the Paris climate agreement in November 2020.

Top US officials were notably absent, as were the leaders of Russia, India and Brazil.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in his closing remarks, said that nations worldwide had pledged to spend some 14.3 billion US dollars to tackle the climate crisis and environmental degradation at the One Planet Summit.

The One Planet Summit was launched by France, the World Bank and the United Nations.

So far there have been meetings in Paris in 2017, NY in 2018 and Nairobi in 2019.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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