On March 3rd, to mark World Wildlife Day, the European Commission reiterated its invitation to all world institutions to raise their voices to bolster the momentum for nature and convince more governments to be ambitious at the crucial fifteenth session of the US Conference be parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CoP 15) later this year.
“Humanity is destroying nature at an unprecedented rate and we are risking the loss of nearly 1 million species,” said the Executive Vice President of the European Green Deal Commission Frans Timmermans said. “This is a direct threat to our own health and wellbeing as we are completely dependent on the rich web of life on the planet. We urgently need to rebalance our relationship with nature and reverse the loss of biodiversity. Action starts with awareness and the work being done through coalitions like United for Biodiversity is critical to getting our natural environment on the path to recovery, ”he added.
Exactly one year after the start of the global coalition “United for Biodiversity” by the Commission, more than 200 institutions worldwide – national parks, research centers and universities, museums for science and natural history, aquariums, botanical gardens and zoos – have come together to deal with the problem address biodiversity crisis.
The Commission has also joined the intergovernmental High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for nature and people, launched at the One Planet Summit in January this year, and actively supports the goal of at least 30% of land and sea by 2030 receive.
For his part, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius called for more partners worldwide on board and urged nations to join CoP 15 of the High Ambition Coalition.
Since its inception at the Oceanographic Institute in Monaco exactly a year ago, 205 institutions from 47 countries have endorsed the coalition’s joint pledge, calling on everyone – from businesses to local authorities, citizens and governments – to take action to increase the number of coalitions increase the number of participating organizations to more than 500.
With their collection, education and conservation programs, these institutions, which are part of the global coalition, are key ambassadors in raising public awareness of the dramatic effects of the current biodiversity crisis, the commission said. Partners in Europe include institutions such as the Natural History Museums of Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Madrid, the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve in Romania and the Kerkini National Park in Greece, the Botanical Gardens of Porto, Roma and Copenhagen, and dozens of zoos and aquariums throughout EU, from Dublin to Riga, from Barcelona to Odense and from Stuttgart to Beauval. In response to popular requests from the research community, the coalition was also opened to research centers and universities, with the University of Bergen in Norway becoming the first member.
Other continents include the first members of the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique and the 19 reserves managed by African Parks in 11 countries, the Puerto Rico Science Museum, the São Paulo Zoo in Brazil, the Central Park Zoo in the United States and the Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity in Cambodia and the Cape Town Aquarium in South Africa.
The coalition is also supported by 36 organizations including global, European and national associations of zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens, museum associations, research organizations, local government associations, conservation groups and NGOs.
Last year, as part of the European Green Deal, the European Commission adopted its EU Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, which aims to put Europe’s biodiversity on a path of recovery by 2030. It is committed to building a larger EU-wide network of effectively managed protected areas covering 30% of the land and 30% of the sea, with a third of this area strictly protected. The Commission is currently working on guiding criteria for the establishment of these areas. The strategy also expressed the Commission’s determination to mobilize all instruments for external action and international partnerships to help develop an ambitious new framework for global biodiversity at the United Nations. The Commission has announced that it will pursue its strategy to conserve biodiversity with numerous measures and initiatives. These include an EU forest strategy, an EU soil strategy, an action plan against trade in wild animals and legally binding goals for the restoration of nature.