Why We Must Harken to a New Deal for Nature and People

by Fideline Mboringong (ELP 2016) | Business and Industries Assistant, World Wide Fund For Nature, Cameroon

In October 2018, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) launched the 13th edition of the Living Planet Report that gives an inclusive overview of the state of our natural world. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018 stated that man’s feeding habits, fuel, society, and economy financing is pushing nature and the services that power and sustain us to the edge. It indicates that global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles declined on average by 60 percent between 1970 and 2014, mostly due to the severe impact of human activities.

The 2018 report confirmed findings of the 12th edition of the Living Planet Report released in 2016, which estimated a 67 percent decline in species from 1970 to 2020. These statistics are a wake-up call to the stakes of biodiversity conservation. This continuous declining trend could hamper the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. It is thus imperative for the people of the world to take urgent and concrete actions to save the planet. 

The global community needs to collectively rethink and redefine how humans value, protect, and restore nature, an opportunity presented by the recent 14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention for Biodiversity, known as CBD COP14. From November 13-19, 2018, heads of governments, civil society actors, and lovers of biodiversity met in Sharm EL Sheikh, Egypt for the CBD COP14. The goal was to discuss biodiversity performance in the last ten years with the end of the Aichi targets (20 global targets under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 grouped under five strategic goals) by 2020 and to chart a way forward for biodiversity beyond 2020.

WWF has emphasized the need for a turning point for the planet from 2020-2030 and proposed a corridor known as “bending the curve,” a transformational New Deal for Nature and People in 2020 to halt and start reversing the decline in nature by 2030. Cristiana Pasca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the CBD, highlighted at the closing of the United Nations Biodiversity 2018 Conference that “more engagement, contributions and actions need to be undertaken, accelerated and implemented both from the parties and from all stakeholders. Bending the curve of biodiversity loss and safeguarding nature for the benefit of all people and future generations requires that we go beyond even these strong commitments.”

As the dust of the COP14 settles, it is important for stakeholders to remain conscious of the continuous decline and the stakes if concrete actions are not taken. The challenges are real, but we also have an enormous opportunity to contribute to bending the curve by 2030 if we act collectively and harken to the new deal for nature and people. Laurent Some, Policy and Partnership Director for WWF Africa, says for this deal to be successful “we need champions; private sector, businesses, celebrities and international icons to actively get involved.”

What can be done to combat nature’s unabated decline? Have your say.