More than 140 conservation groups from over 50 countries around the world have signed a letter calling on governments and businesses to seize a once in a generation opportunity to protect nature and prevent a wave of extinction by committing an initial $500 billion for nature conservation worldwide.
The letter, coordinated by #FFI, the world’s oldest international wildlife conservation organisation, and backed by Sir David Attenborough, has been delivered to the UN secretary general António Guterres at the start of the #UN #Biodiversity Summit.
It marks the launch of FFI’s Our One Home campaign, which calls for a $500 billion yearly funding commitment led by governments and including private sector organisations, scaling upwards by $50 billion year on year, to support local conservationists in protecting the natural world. This is a conservative estimate of the funding necessary to protect and restore nature, based on calculations by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity that around $900 billion funding is required.
Sir David Attenborough, world renowned broadcaster, naturalist and long standing vice president of FFI, said: ‘Our natural world is under greater pressure now than at any time in human history, and the future of the entire planet – on which every single one of us depends – is in grave jeopardy. We still have an opportunity to reverse catastrophic biodiversity loss, but time is running out. We urgently need world leaders and global businesses to acknowledge the crucial importance of nature, commit to investing in it, and unite behind a massive collective effort to conserve it.’
In addition to funding demands, FFI and the signatory organisations are calling for a fundamental reordering of global financial flows from businesses and government, moving finances away from activities harmful to nature and into the hands of locally led conservation organisations who can use re-prioritised funding to protect nature and help ensure collective global health.
Mark Rose, chief executive of Fauna & Flora International, said: ‘We are in the midst of a once in a generation opportunity for a great reset, where governments, businesses and public alike must seize the moment to tackle head on the conservation and extinction crisis we are facing. The natural world is crucial to human and economic health, but is under immense pressure and remains drastically underfunded.
‘UN member states must take the lead in getting ahead of this crisis and putting funding into the hands of those who are best placed to use it – local conservation organisations who see firsthand the challenges facing the natural world and have the knowledge necessary to secure real change.’
FFI’s letter to the UN secretary general recognises nature and biodiversity as the cornerstone of both human health and global economies.
The World Economic Forum estimates that the natural world is worth $125 trillion to the worldwide economy, but rather than being valued and protected, nature is being destroyed.
WWF warns that destruction of habitats has contributed to an average 68% reduction in wildlife populations since 1970 and recent research found wilderness area the size of Mexico has been converted for commercial use in the last 13 years.
Despite this loss, it is estimated that just $80 to 90 billion is spent on protecting the natural environment. Meanwhile, governments and businesses continue to spend many billions of dollars in areas detrimental to our planet, such as on weapons of war or subsidising harmful industries such as fossil fuels.
One Home supported include many famous names.
Dame Judi Dench, ten time BAFTA winner and FFI vice president, said: ‘We must all accept our responsibility as global citizens to protect nature and biodiversity for future generations. Across the world, many species and natural resources are under threat from the devastating effects of climate change and we cannot afford to be complacent. As a vice president of FFI, I am proud to endorse this much needed campaign which seeks to bring funding to local conservation organisations who are best placed to deliver long lasting change for our natural world.’
Stephen Fry, actor, writer, presenter, and also a FFI vice-president, said: ‘Our beautiful planet that we call Earth, and the existence of countless beautiful species, face a serious threat from climate change. We must all be bolder and act in unison to minimise our impact on nature and reverse the damage that has been caused to biodiversity. In addition to the daily actions that we take as custodians of the Earth, local conservation efforts play a vital role in protecting our natural world. I feel so passionately about supporting this campaign which brings funding into the hands of local conservationists who need it the most.’
FFI is appealing to the general public to support its campaign to deliver urgent and powerful change by signing a public petition on Change.org