WASHINGTON — More than 100 organizations from five continents today urged negotiators headed to a world biodiversity meeting to commit to stopping human-caused extinctions of species. The groups’ letter comes as negotiations over the global framework to combat biodiversity loss are set to resume June 21 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Today’s letter — sent to hundreds of negotiators from countries around the world — calls for a halt to human-caused species extinctions beginning in 2022, with an eye toward sustaining all native species by the end of the decade. Leaders at the negotiating table must do everything in their power, including committing to full financial backing and capacity sharing, to stop extinction, the groups say.
“It’s gut-wrenching that the global framework for saving biodiversity doesn’t yet commit to stopping species extinction right now,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Organizations around the world are demanding action, and all the necessary text for the global community to stop extinction is on the table. We’re unraveling the fabric of life and losing the species that make life possible and rewarding. We need this agreement to commit to real transformative change, because the future depends on it.”
The framework is being negotiated by parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity — 195 countries plus the European Union. Delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the framework was intended to be adopted in 2020 and guide biodiversity conservation over the decade.
“Species extinction is a choice,” said Zak Smith, director of NRDC’s Global Biodiversity Conservation program. “As countries put the finishing touches on a new plan to secure the natural life support systems we depend on, they must anchor that plan with a commitment to halt species extinction. Setting such a target is critical for forging a new relationship with nature that saves species, ecosystems and humanity.”
United Nations scientists have warned that the world stands to lose a million species if the international community continues with business as usual. Industrial activities — not evolutionary factors — are fueling species losses, with baseline extinction levels reaching 10 to 10,000 times the background rate.
Because of the biodiversity crisis, pressure is building for the final meeting at which the framework will be adopted — known as CoP15 — to take place this year.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at http://www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.