The G7 summit (11-13 June 2021) in Carbis Bay, Cornwall concluded on Sunday with the publication, alongside the final Summit Communiqué, of a ‘Nature Compact’ committing the leaders of the G7 nations to a global mission to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.
Following on from the G7 Metz Charter of 2019 and last year’s Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, the Nature Compact represents a welcome reaffirmation of previous commitments, ahead of two critical meetings this year: the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 in Kunming and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP26 in Glasgow.
However, the Summit Communiqué and Nature Compact were disappointingly light on the detailed action plans and funding required to achieve 2030 ambitions for biodiversity or to support developing countries to deliver sufficient emissions cuts ahead of COP26.
Joanna Elliott, Senior Conservation Director at Fauna & Flora International (FFI), said: “As Sir David Attenborough told the G7 summit this week, the current generation of world leaders face the most important decisions in human history. The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss threaten to destabilise the very basis of life on Earth.
As the G7 Nature Compact states: ‘climate change is one key driver of biodiversity loss, and protecting, conserving and restoring biodiversity is crucial to addressing climate change.’ They are two sides of the same coin. You cannot tackle one without tackling the other and it is encouraging to see leaders recognise this.
To achieve our ambitions for nature this decade, we need a step change in the funding that flows to conservation globally. Governments have rightly committed trillions of dollars to the pandemic economic recovery and FFI wants to see $500 billion committed globally to scale up the protection and restoration of nature. Indigenous Peoples and local communities must be at the heart of these efforts, as the G7 rightly acknowledge.
Alongside rapid decarbonisation, we need to see intact ecosystems – natural carbon sinks – protected and restored. The G7’s reaffirmation of a commitment to end the loss of natural forest by 2030 and to recognise the value of blue carbon ecosystems is welcome. But the hour is too late for warm rhetoric without action plans and funding to back it up.
Similarly, $100 billion per year to developing nations to help them adapt to climate change sounds like a big commitment – but this is a rehash of an existing pledge that has not yet been met in full. Many of the countries that need more support to mitigate the effects of a warming planet are the same ones that need to be supported to make more ambitious emissions cuts. The rich nations of the world must do more to support them, if the UK-hosted COP26 climate summit is to be the landmark moment we all want it to be.
It was also disappointing to see G7 leaders fail to recognise a new and evolving threat to marine ecosystems, deep-sea mining, despite a growing chorus of scientists, businesses, citizens and, most recently, the European Parliament calling for a global moratorium. Significant commitments have been made to protect and restore ocean ecosystems and G7 leaders must not undermine them by failing to curb this destructive new industry.”