A band of more than 50 countries, chaired by France, the UK, and Costa Rica, have committed to an ambitious push to conserve and protect 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030.
The agreement was made by the fledgling High Ambition Coalition for People and Nature (HAC) at the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity in Paris at the start of this week.
This coalition will now push the ’30×30′ objective at the upcoming meeting of the UN Council on Biodiversity set to meet Kunming, China in May 2021.
The last time that conservation goals like this were made was the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, set down in Japan in 2010, which were largely a failure when the target year of 2020 came around.
This time around, the HAC is hopeful that the diverse coalition of participants, stronger commitments, and prior experience attempting conservation on such a massive scale will increase the chance of what would effectively be a doubling of all protected areas on land, and a quadrupling of that at sea.
While 30% seems like just another arbitrary government figure, The HAC claims that scientific estimates suggest that 30% would be a “necessary interim,” one which would halt species and habitat loss long enough to ensure shorter-term catastrophes are avoided.
Along with almost all of Europe, the HAC includes diverse countries; some leaders in regional wealth, others in biodiversity, such as Japan, Ethiopia, Colombia, Nigeria, Peru, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Kenya.
Investing in our shared future
At the One Planet Summit, billions of dollars in commitments, particularly from the UK, highlighted the early support for the 30×30 initiative.
Prince Charles unveiled the Terra Carta, a roadmap for private sector financing that places sustainable use of nature at the heart of investment decisions, while the government announced that £3 billion ($2.2 billion) that would normally go to other climate-related projects would instead be diverted to the conservation of nature.
France announced, also at One Planet, that $14.3 billion was going to the ambitious Great Green Wall in Africa, a plan to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land in 11 countries along the Sahel in North-Central Africa in a bid to create jobs, increase food security, and combat desertification.
No agreement has been made yet, however HAC plans to push hard at the next Conference on Biodiversity to replace the old Aichi targets with the 30×30 concept.
“We know there is no pathway to tackling climate change that does not involve a massive increase in our efforts to protect and restore nature,” UK environment minister Zac Goldsmith said of the effort. “So as co-host of the next Climate Cop, the UK is absolutely committed to leading the global fight against biodiversity loss and we are proud to act as co-chair of the High Ambition Coalition.”