Today (28 Sept), Heads of State and Government from more than 60 countries – including the UK – committed to reverse nature loss by the end of the decade.
Through the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature: United to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for Sustainable Development, leaders have pledged to undertake urgent actions over the next 10 years as part of the UN Decade of Action to achieve Sustainable Development.
The pledge comes days ahead of the UN Summit on Biodiversity, sending a strong, united signal that the world must step up ambition to halt and reverse nature loss for the benefit of people and nature and to help tackle climate change.
The Leaders Pledge for Nature commits world leaders to take 10 urgent actions, including on sustainable food production, ending the illegal wildlife trade and implementing nature-based solutions for climate change.
Protecting 30% of UK land
The Prime Minister signed the Leaders Pledge for Nature at a virtual United Nations event today, committing to put nature and biodiversity on a road to recovery by 2030.
Boris Johnson also committed to protect 30% of the UK’s land by 2030. Existing national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other protected areas already comprise approximately 26% of land in England.
An additional 4% – over 400,000 hectares, the size of the Lake District and South Downs national parks combined – will be protected to support the recovery of nature.
‘We must turn these words into action and use them to build momentum, to agree ambitious goals and binding targets.
‘We must act now – right now. We cannot afford dither and delay because biodiversity loss is happening today and it is happening at a frightening rate. Left unchecked, the consequences will be catastrophic for us all.
‘Extinction is forever – so our action must be immediate.’
Prime Minister of the UK
Countries must act now
The government will work with the Devolved Administrations to agree an approach across the UK, and with landowners and civil society to explore how best to increase the size and value of our protected land.
Boris Johnson warned that countries must act now to reverse devastating biodiversity loss and prevent more species from being lost forever, with a 68% decline in global wildlife populations since 1970 alone.
‘It’s right that the Prime Minister is making the protection of nature a priority, particularly at this critical time with our planet in crisis. Nature is at the heart of all our lives, but WWF’s 2020 Living Planet Report shows that it is in freefall, with the UK one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.
‘This announcement is a welcome step, but it must be backed up by urgent ambition, including strong legislation to avoid damaging trade deals and to stop the food we eat from destroying the environment here and abroad. Only then can we meet our climate targets, put nature on the path to recovery and set our sights on global leadership at COP 26.’
Chief executive of WWF-UK