"We need a global plan that brings everybody... on the same ambition to deliver action, at a much higher scale and much faster speed than we've seen until now," WWF Director said.
The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a "historic opportunity to see a 'Paris-Style agreement" for nature, said Marco Lambertini, director of World Wide Fund for Nature International (WWF).
"We have the opportunity for the whole world to agree on a global plan and global goals for nature in order to address the crisis of biodiversity loss," Lambertini said.
He also urged world leaders to secure an ambitious global agreement to save humanity's life support systems as biodiversity loss is accelerating, food insecurity is growing, and nature is declining at unprecedented rates, with 1 million species now threatened with extinction.
"Nature conservation is critical, not just for nature, but actually for all of us, for our future, and particularly for the climate agenda. It's a great opportunity. We can't miss it," he said.
150 scientists signed an open letter about COP15, incl. 40 Profs & 80 PhDs— Dr Charlie Gardner (@CharlieJGardner) December 16, 2022
But we couldn't get it published, and got only a single sentence in one paper
If media won't give a voice to scientists, is it any wonder activists go to such lengths to get the science talked about? pic.twitter.com/dlhD0MMZxq
New research published by the WWF showed that the number of people worried about rapid nature loss in the world's top global biodiversity hotspots has risen to nearly 60 percent, reflecting a nearly 10 percent increase since 2018.
"This is really a cultural shift that makes us look at nature loss as a threat to our own survival, to our own prosperity, to our own future, the future of our children and their children. This is a new cultural shift, where nature is beginning to be valued," Lambertini said.
"A lot of governments, a lot of corporates are doing good work for nature conservation, but we need a global plan that brings everybody on the same page, in the same direction, on the same ambition to deliver action, at a much higher scale and much faster speed than we've seen until now. I'm optimistic," he added.
The WWF chief underscored that other key issues remain unsolved, including how to mobilize the necessary finance. The organization's latest data showed that the biodiversity finance gap is estimated to be US$700 billion annually.
"Funding continues to be the most difficult discussion in every negotiation these days, particularly at the time when there is a looming economic recession in key countries," Lambertini said, pointing out that the "majority of the funding needs are in the Global South, where there is a higher level of biodiversity and less means to protect it. There is no doubt that the conference should agree on increasing the funding for biodiversity to the South."
"On the other hand, we need to finance biodiversity and greening finance, meaning making sure that the financial flows that today are spent on agriculture, fishing, infrastructure, forestry, subsidies and investments are actually driving nature-positive transitions, transitions and practices that are in balance with the natural world," he added.
The WWF will press governments to adopt a "Paris"-style agreement capable of driving immediate action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for a nature-positive world.
"We need to have an agreement that is appropriate, serious enough and ambitious enough to deal with the seriousness of the situation. The science is very clear. We need to reverse nature loss. We need to bring nature back and the agreement in COP15 needs to reflect that," he said.