United Kingdom (Commonwealth Union)_The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, encouraged the countries to take productive actions towards closing the funding gap to safeguard the Earth’s valuable natural environment. She made her statement at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference COP15 held in Montréal, Canada, which gathered prominent leaders across the globe.
The 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) convened around 200 signatory nations in an effort to establish a global plan for the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and natural ecosystems for the next ten years. The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that was adopted during the summit detailed the essential policy initiatives at the national, regional, and global levels to help stabilize trends that may worsen biodiversity loss by 2030. This would enable natural ecosystems to recover, with net benefits by 2050.
In a statement distributed at the conference, the Secretary-General urged adequate funding to implement the plan. She stated, “We need an ambitious, science-based and measurable global biodiversity framework for our future generations, if we are to respond to the multiple exogenous shocks which our world now faces. We must also fund it. The gap for funding for biodiversity is estimated at US$700 billion per year for nature and with a target of US$200 billion in the draft framework”. She added, “As the Commonwealth, we know this can be done if we all choose to work together. It will take all of us: governments, multilateral funding mechanisms, private sector and philanthropy, if we are to put money where it matters most – nature conservation.”
In June, Commonwealth Heads of Government gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, and underlined the inadequacy of funding to prevent and reverse biodiversity loss on land and in the seas. In their final communiqué, they highlighted the need to raise extra funding for an integrated and inclusive strategy to finance action on the ocean, climate change, and environment, and asked for greater charitable and private sector contributions.
In addition, Commonwealth leaders endorsed the Commonwealth Living Lands Charter to take action on the three Rio Conventions on climate change, biodiversity loss, and land degradation. This also supports the ocean action activities performed under the 2018-adopted Commonwealth Blue Charter. The Secretary-General said, “Now is the time for decision, not division. A time to unite in taking the right decision for this moment in history [and] the right compromises, if we must. Make no mistake – we will be judged, and we should be judged, for the decisions we make today.”
The Commonwealth is a voluntary organization of 56 sovereign states that are equal and independent. The Commonwealth consists of both developed and developing nations around the world. Of the 56 member states, 33 of the member nations are minor states, the majority of them are island countries. The Commonwealth represents a third of mankind, with a combined population of 2.5 billion people, 60 percent of whom are below 30 years old. Its 56 member nations span more than 11 million km2 of arable land, 8.8 million km2 of forest land, and about a third of the ocean under national jurisdiction. Moreover, 29 percent of the world’s megadiverse countries are members of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Secretariat assists member states in establishing democratic and inclusive institutions, enhancing governance, and advancing justice and human rights. The organization’s work contributes to economic growth and trade expansion, national resilience, youth empowerment, and addressing issues such as climate change, debt, and inequality. Moreover, more than eighty intergovernmental, civil society, cultural, and professional organizations help member states.