On the negative side, WWF was disappointed with the relatively low participation of political leaders and ministers and the weak collective ambition. Marco said: “Here in Egypt we are disappointed, as we are yet to see a coherent vision or sense of direction. We need the CBD and the issues to attain the highest political relevance and develop a far higher shared vision if we are to reach a New Deal for Nature and create a Paris-style moment for biodiversity in 2020.”
But there is plenty to be optimistic about, if we move quickly and decisively. Marco said, “as we head into the year 2020, we are excited by the unparalleled opportunity we have, to embrace a clearer and higher ambition; speed and scale is essential if we are to have any hope of ensuring a sustainable future for the planet and people.”
Cristiana Pasca Palmer, CBD Executive Secretary made the point that “we are failing, but we have a chance to bend the curve on biodiversity loss by 2030… the next two years present an opportunity to mobilize action to turn the ship around.”
Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries supports a New Deal for Nature, meets with WWF and commits Earth Hour.
A “New Deal for Nature and People” gains traction
There was also plenty to celebrate. It was clear right from the start that the a New Deal for Nature and People has hit the mark as it became a key talking point in and outside the conference halls. Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme called for a New Deal during the opening panel and a many others referred to it throughout. #NewDealForNature is also gaining traction online with over 50 million impressions already.
WWF contributed significantly to the narrative in sessions, meetings, social media and press. There were bilateral meetings with various UN bodies, the EU and countries including Norway, China, Malaysia. Key WWF spokespeople, Marco Lambertini, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Leader of the Climate and Energy Practice and Nik Sekhran, Chief Conservation Officer, WWF-US, worked hard to raise key issues and point to solutions.
At the Business and Biodiversity Forum, many speakers emphasised the need for a strong business case for biodiversity conservation and the session on business and the post-2020 framework included repeated calls for increased ambition, integration with climate and calling for a New Deal for Nature in 2020. The platform “Act4Nature” was mentioned throughout as an example of demonstrating how companies are committing to biodiversity action.
Manuel says that nature loss affecting development, our economy and way of live and makes a case for a New Deal.
Amplifying the narrative and call for a New Deal
WWF’s visibility within the halls of COP14 started well, but there was plenty for external audiences too:
Marco’s opinion piece published in Reuters ahead of the meeting builds a compelling case for halting biodiversity loss and restoring nature by highlighting the “7 billion reasons” to take action for nature. The message is simple but powerful: we cannot have a healthy, prosperous future on a degraded planet. We need a #NewDealForNature
Our Global Climate & Energy Leader, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal’s blog Time for a new deal for nature and people went live yesterday talking about “the willingness of the international community to put in place the mechanisms to deliver action on climate change and sustainable development. The Paris Agreements and the UN SDGs both put in place in late 2015, provide templates we can use to construct an ambitious international agreement to protect nature.”
In a live TV interview with Deutsche Welle, Marco emphasized why nature is indispensable for human life and the need for higher political ambition to halt biodiversity loss.
We went live onFacebookwith a bang! Marco’s live chat with David Ainsworth from the Convention on Biological Diversity got over thousands views in just a few hours! Check out the video here
The Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) were busy outside the High Level Segment, securing up to 40 interviews and commitments for Earth Hour 2019 from Ministers, State Secretaries, Head of Delegations, UN Directors and CEOs, including the Director of OECD and an Archbishop from Holy See.
And check out our Twitter moments page for #NewDealForNature as the momentum grows, see tweets from WWF, UN Biodiversity, Erik Solheim, IPBES and others.
Key announcements: a positive start, but much more to do
See WWF’s response to the main announcements – “WWF rallies behind the call for a New Deal for Nature and People”, with our key message being the need for higher ambition and increased political leadership needed to reverse devastating nature loss, as failure to tackle challenges comes into sharp focus.
Sharm-El-Sheikh Declaration: Although positive, we think we need much higher commitment to halt biodiversity loss. Implementation of individual multilateral environmental agreements have been suboptimal, lacking cohesion and accountability. We were pleased to see that there are plans for a Heads of State Summit on Biodiversity in 2020, but for this event to have the impact and scale required, we need the political process to start immediately.
We will therefore push strongly and support efforts to get governments to reinforce their commitment to the well-being of people and the planet by submitting robust voluntary biodiversity contributions at the earliest.
The Sharm-El-Sheikh to Beijing Nature Action Agenda promoting a New Deal for Nature and People was announced. “The Agenda will enable a paradigm shift in the human-nature relationship: from abuse and neglect to respect, value and sustainability,”. It will be a platform for multiple stakeholders, including governments and businesses to come together to discuss and confirm commitments to halt the decline of biodiversity and restore nature for the benefit of people and the planet. We are committed to support this process.
Marco at the Leaders’ Breakfast pushing for a common vision and ambition.
Country pledges, but not enough
Several Ministers and delegates, but not enough, presented their national commitments and actions taken on ecosystem restoration.A Pan-African Action Agenda on ecosystem restoration for Increased Resilience was adopted at the African ministerial meeting outlining a coherent approach to addressing the interlinked challenges of biodiversity loss, land degradation and climate change.
Emmanuelle Wargon, France’s State Minister of Ecological and Inclusive Transition said that L’Agence Française de Développement will announce aid for developing countries wanting to work on biodiversity issues. Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Egypt’s Environment Minister, mentioned a push to benefit all three Rio conventions. She invited youth, women and other stakeholders to participate and spoke at length of the benefits of an integrated approach of all three sister conventions. Details of the initiative are not yet clear.
During High Level session on infrastructure and energy, Minister Thérèse Coffey Environment Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced 10 million pounds to plant a million trees in cities across UK and investing in woodlands in former mining areas aiming to increase of woodland areas by 20 per cent.
Coral 2020 Vision where Cristiana Pasca Palmer and Marco talked about the critical importance of coral reefs for communities and the need to protect them.
Our expectations as COP14 opens and negotiations begin
For WWF, success of this “process” COP will be a conclusion that includes a robust roadmap that is supported at the highest political level and which aims to deliver an ambitious New Deal for Nature and People in China in 2020 – a deal where the highest levels of government, business and members of society work together for urgent, decisive global action to halt biodiversity loss. By 2020, just two years from now, we need an agreed roadmap that recognizes the intrinsic link between the health of nature, the well-being of people and the future of our planet.
What to watch out for
In addition to negotiations which begin on Sunday, WWF is hosting and co-hosting over 10 events in the days ahead.The first of which was the Coral 2020 Vision and the launch of a new coalition to save coral reefs from near-extinction by mid-century. A coalition of inter-governmental organizations, international conservation organizations and private foundations.
Upcoming WWF or co-hosted events
COP-14 Opening Ceremony
Catalyzing progress on Aichi Target 7
WWF Half day on mainstreaming infrastructure
Launch of The Living Planet Report and Our Planet: Engaging Hearts and Minds
Global Biodiversity Communications Forum, including sessions on EH/Connect2Earth
African Ecological Futures (AEF)
Taking the High Road: Building Biodiversity into our Infrastructure Future through Partnerships
Media Roundtable on Biodiversity Baseline Awareness Research
Jaguar Conservation Roadmap for the Americas
Practical Solutions for Reducing Infrastructure Impacts: A Long-term Strategic Approach to Mainstreaming
A force for Nature – lessons from and links to the NDCs in the Paris Agreement
Arctic biodiversity: challenges and global connections