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Feature - Issue #8

No Planet B

Illustration by Rashida Chavis

On the eve of the UN Biodiversity Conference, the UN assistant secretary general and executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Elizabeth Mrema, calls for global action to build a future of life in harmony with nature.

The UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, is a very significant meeting for the state of the world’s biodiversity and the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which provides a global legal framework for action on biodiversity.

The time now has come for less talk and more action. I cannot over-emphasise this enough. The rate of global change in nature during the past 50 years is unprecedented in human history. The human population has doubled, the global economy quadrupled, and global trade has grown by ten times. All this while humans are overusing Earth’s biocapacity by at least 56%. Together, these factors have driven unpreceded alteration of habitats, overexploitation of resources, changes in climate, pollution, and invasions by alien species - and are causing the loss of biodiversity and of nature’s contributions to people.

At the UN Biodiversity Conference, governments will lead the discussions, but their work will be complemented by inputs from civil society, businesses, youth and women’s groups, and the extremely relevant input from Indigenous peoples and local communities.

In Kunming, the 196 parties to the convention are expected to agree and adopt a global biodiversity framework, a ten-year strategy to engage the entire world in the task of protecting nature and building a future of life in harmony with nature. The framework will have a very significant role not only for the convention’s work, but for all UN actors working on biodiversity, for the sustainable development goals, and for other sustainable development work in years to come.

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