The time for transformation is now. Crises also create opportunities – the opportunity to change how we see our relationships with nature, with each other, and with the Earth. We know that there is no future for business as usual. We need a “new normal” for biodiversity.
For this reason, we are moving towards a crucial collective goal: preserving at least 30% of the Earth’s surface in protected areas, across land and sea.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General
Today 701 Biosphere Reserves, 252 natural heritage sites and 161 UNESCO Global Geoparks protect 6% of the Earth’s surface – an area equivalent to that of China. They are a living demonstration of how to sustainably use and restore key ecosystems everywhere on the planet.
They inspire change with concrete examples of practical transformative action:
- Restoring the relationships between people and nature through education, science, and local and indigenous knowledge
- Conserving the harmony of our ecosystems – sustainably using key ecosystems by mobilizing the knowledge and know-how of committed and dedicated citizens and partners
- Amplifying the power of youth – providing universal and open access to diversity of knowledge, create possibilities and share solutions to empower the next generations
Young people are demanding action to protect our planet, and they must be involved at all levels, from local action to setting global targets for the protection and conservation of the planet’s biodiversity and ecosystems. This is why UNESCO is working with youth to include their voices in the process of developing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
UNESCO is using the experience and expertise of its networks of designated sites, Centers and Chairs, and engaging key partners with the support of its Member States to work on a set of values and principles that should guide actions to restore, conserve and transmit the value of biodiversity.