It’s time to put nature first, and to invest massively in the local conservation organisations that are best-placed to avert catastrophic biodiversity loss across the globe.
That was the resounding message for governments and businesses as Fauna & Flora International (FFI) launched its Our One Home campaign, timed to coincide with the pivotal United Nations Summit on Biodiversity.
In an open letter addressed to UN Secretary-General António Guterres – signed to date by almost 150 conservation groups from more than 50 countries worldwide – FFI has called on member states to collectively commit an initial $500 billion in funding, rising year on year, to protect the natural world.
Endorsed by long-standing FFI vice-president Sir David Attenborough and a plethora of other high-profile supporters, the campaign aims to give a voice to the communities and organisations working on the conservation front line, who know what it takes to safeguard the biodiversity on which we all depend, but who all too often are denied a seat at the table when it comes to decision-making.
The letter urges the governments of the world to seize what is undoubtedly an unparalleled one-off opportunity to invest in the planet, rather than jeopardising humanity’s long-term survival by continuing to subsidise outmoded and environmentally destructive economic activities such as fossil fuel extraction.
FFI is also appealing to the general public to support this crucial campaign for a radical reassessment of global funding priorities by signing a petition on Change.org.
Sir David Attenborough said: “Our natural world is under greater pressure now than at any time in human history, and the future of the entire planet – on which every single one of us depends – is in grave jeopardy. We still have an opportunity to reverse catastrophic biodiversity loss, but time is running out. We urgently need world leaders and global businesses to acknowledge the crucial importance of nature, commit to investing in it, and unite behind a massive collective effort to conserve it.”
FFI chief executive Mark Rose is in no doubt about the urgency of the crisis: “We are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a great reset, where governments, businesses and public alike must seize the moment to tackle head on the conservation and extinction crisis we are facing. The natural world is crucial to human and economic health, but is under immense pressure and remains drastically underfunded.
“UN member states must take the lead in getting ahead of this crisis and putting funding into the hands of those who are best placed to use it – local conservation organisations who see first-hand the challenges facing the natural world and have the knowledge necessary to secure real change.”
As part of the Our One Home campaign, FFI and partners are calling on governments to work with civil society to identify local and national environmental priorities, so that funding can be urgently directed to the organisations that are capable of having maximum impact on the ground, given the appropriate level of investment. FFI knows from its century-long experience of working with communities in developing countries throughout the world that long-term conservation success lies ultimately in local hands. Investing in these local, community-led organisations – and on an unprecedented scale – will be crucial in tackling the existential threats to our planet, and to our own future, posed by global biodiversity meltdown and runaway climate change.
Our natural world is under greater pressure now than at any time in human history, and the future of the entire planet – on which every single one of us depends – is in grave jeopardy. We still have an opportunity to reverse catastrophic biodiversity loss, but time is running out. We urgently need world leaders and global businesses to acknowledge the crucial importance of nature, commit to investing in it, and unite behind a massive collective effort to conserve it.
Tim has worked closely with FFI since 1999. He has edited &FFI (formerly Fauna & Flora magazine) since its inception in 2001 and is co-author of With Honourable Intent - A Natural History of Fauna & Flora International, published in 2017.