Call for Australia to be an active, constructive player in global biodiversity agreement

Australia has more at stake than most countries when it comes to nature and should play a leadership role in improving the draft global biodiversity framework released overnight, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) said today.

“A strong agreement to urgently reverse the destruction of nature is needed if communities across the world are to continue to receive the services and benefits that nature provides,” said ACF nature campaigner Nathaniel Pelle.

“The draft framework rightly states that ‘urgent policy action globally, regionally and nationally is required to transform economic, social and financial models’ that have caused the biodiversity crisis and a ‘whole of-government and society approach is necessary’.

“But the framework’s mission is not clear enough or strong enough.

“To say only that ‘action must be taken this decade’ – as the draft framework does – falls well short of what is needed.

“Countries should set clear, unambiguous targets to halt the destruction of nature and be nature positive – that is, set goals to ensure nature is in better shape by 2030 than it is now.

“At present, some of our most important ecosystems are collapsing, from the Murray-Darling river system to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree in tropical north Queensland.

“More than a million animal and plant species – from tigers to Tasmanian devils – are being driven to extinction. Ancient forests like the Amazon and the Daintree are collapsing. Even koalas are becoming endangered.

“Leaders from 89 countries representing two billion people have committed to goals to halt and reverse nature destruction by 2030 – sadly Scott Morrison is not among them.

“It’s promising that the draft framework includes a global target to protect 30% of the land and of the sea, which Australia supported, but we should match that with a commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and restore nature at home, including committing to protect at least 30% of our own land, as G7 nations have done.

“Australia is a global deforestation hotspot, alongside places like the Amazon and Congo.

“Australia has one of the worst extinction records on Earth. We lead the world in mammal extinctions.

“ACF urges the Morrison government to play an active, constructive role in these negotiations. Few countries have more at stake than Australia.

“Healthy ecosystems filter our water, pollinate our crops and store carbon naturally in the landscape. But when we push nature to the edge, these functions stop working.

“There is not a dollar of GDP that is not ultimately dependent on nature.

“Restoring nature is essential for human health – scientists tell us we can expect more heatwaves, droughts and disease outbreaks due to climate change and biodiversity loss.

“The goals and targets in the final framework that will be agreed by nations at the upcoming COP15 meeting represent the most important decision for biodiversity in a decade.”

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