Sixty-four world leaders back plan to save Earth from a ‘planetary state of emergency’

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Leaders from 64 countries have signed a 10-point Pledge For Nature, outlining steps to combat climate change by helping the world ‘live in harmony with nature’ by 2050.

Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson are among the figure heads who signed the document stating the world is in a ‘state of planetary emergency’ requiring ‘urgent and immediate global action’. 

The measures include a pledge to re-double efforts to slow down deforestation, eliminate unregulated and unsustainable fishing practices and stop plastic being dumped into the ocean by 2050.

Emmanuel Macron (pictured) and Angela Merkel are among the figure heads who signed a 10-point Pledge For Nature

Angela Merkel (pictured) signed the document stating the world is in a 'state of planetary emergency' requiring 'urgent and immediate global action'

Emmanuel Macron (left) and Angela Merkel (right) are among the figure heads who signed a 10-point Pledge For Nature

And later today, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will sign a new United Nations (UN) pledge to help save the planet 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) also signed the pledge

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) and Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern (right) also signed the pledge 

What are the 10-points in the Pledge For Nature signed by 64 world leaders

  1. Climate change and the environment is at the heart both of our Covid-19 recovery strategies and investments and of our pursuit of national and international development and cooperation
  2. Commitment to ambitious and transformational post-2020 global biodiversity framework
  3.  Tackle biodiversity loss, land, freshwater and ocean degradation, deforestation, desertification, pollution and climate change
  4. Transition to sustainable production and consumption as well as sustainable food systems
  5. Pledge to raise ambition and aligning domestic climate policies with the Paris Agreement
  6. Commit to ending environmental crimes
  7. Commit to mainstreaming biodiversity into relevant policies – including food production, agriculture and fisheries  
  8. Commitment to ‘One-Health’ approach in all relevant policies and decision-making processes that addresses health and environmental sustainability in an integrated fashion
  9. Strengthen all financial and non-financial means of implementation, to transform and reform our economic and financial sectors and to achieve the wellbeing of people and safeguard the planet through various methods – including incentivizing the financial system
  10. Commit that our approach to the design and implementation of policy will be science-based, will recognize the crucial role of traditional and indigenous knowledge as well as science and research in the fight against ecosystem degradation. It will also engage the whole of society

Credit: Leaders’ Pledge for Nature

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It marks a week of international action to combat climate change, as 116 world leaders are set to hold a virtual UN biodiversity summit in New York on Wednesday.

And later today, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will sign a new United Nations (UN) pledge to help save the planet.

The pledge will protect an area the size of the Lake District and South Downs in a bid to boost the country’s natural beauty. 

The Leader’s Pledge for Nature – which was also signed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern – said leaders aim to ‘end a united signal to step up global ambition for biodiversity’.

They also aim ‘to commit to matching our collective ambition for nature, climate and people with the scale of the crisis at hand’.

It reads: ‘We reaffirm our commitment to international cooperation and multilateralism, based on unity, solidarity and trust among countries, peoples and generations, as the only way for the world to effectively respond to current and future global environmental crises.

‘We are in a state of planetary emergency: the interdependent crises of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation and climate change – driven in large part by unsustainable production and consumption – require urgent and immediate global action. 

‘Science clearly shows that biodiversity loss, land and ocean degradation, pollution, resource depletion and climate change are accelerating at an unprecedented rate.

‘This acceleration is causing irreversible harm to our life support systems and aggravating poverty and inequalities as well as hunger and malnutrition. 

‘Unless halted and reversed with immediate effect, it will cause significant damage to global economic, social and political resilience and stability and will render achieving the Sustainable Development Goals impossible.’ 

At a speech set to be made later today at a UN event, Prime Minster Boris Johnson will warn that immediate action is needed to save wildlife and habitats which are disappearing at a ‘frightening rate’.

He will add: ‘We cannot afford dither and delay because biodiversity loss is happening today.

‘Left unchecked, the consequences will be catastrophic for us all. Extinction is forever so our action must be immediate.’

The measures include a pledge to re-double efforts to slow down deforestation, eliminate unregulated and unsustainable fishing practices and stop plastic being dumped into the ocean by 2050 (file image)

The measures include a pledge to re-double efforts to slow down deforestation, eliminate unregulated and unsustainable fishing practices and stop plastic being dumped into the ocean by 2050 (file image)

The area's size would be equivalent to the South Downs and Lake District combine

The area’s size would be equivalent to the South Downs and Lake District combine

Mr Johnson is making his promise to safeguard an extra 400,000 hectares of land in the next decade during a virtual event held by the United Nations.

The commitment will boost the amount of protected land, which includes national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, from 26 per cent of England to 30 per cent by 2030.

That is equivalent to the size of the Lake District and South Downs National Parks combined.

The Prime Minister will also say: ‘We must turn these words into action and use them to build momentum, to agree ambitious goals and binding targets. We must act now, right now.’

‘As the environment is a devolved matter, Westminster will work with the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland plus landowners to protect more land across the UK. 

Mr Johnson will commit to his promise by signing the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature at the UN event.

He will be joined by Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Jacinda Ardern, who are among 64 leaders from five continents to sign the pledge.

It includes a 10-point pledge, formulated by the governments and the European Union, to counteract the damage to ecosystems that underpin human health and wellbeing. 

As part of it, governments will pledge more money will be spent on the environment and ensuring nature is a priority.

The commitments include a renewed effort to reduce deforestation, the elimination of subsidies that harm the environment and the transition to sustainable food production.   

The new area earmarked for protected status is equivalent to the size of the Lake District and South Downs National Parks combined. Pictured: South Downs (file photo)

The new area earmarked for protected status is equivalent to the size of the Lake District and South Downs National Parks combined. Pictured: South Downs (file photo)

The commitment will boost the amount of protected land, which includes national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, from 26 per cent of England to 30 per cent by 2030. Pictured: North York Moors National Park (file photo)

The commitment will boost the amount of protected land, which includes national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, from 26 per cent of England to 30 per cent by 2030. Pictured: North York Moors National Park (file photo)

Martin Harper, RSPB director of global conservation, said the 30 per cent commitment could be a ‘huge step towards addressing the crisis our wildlife is facing’. But he added: ‘Targets on paper won’t be enough. Those set a decade ago failed because they weren’t backed up by action.

‘This is why the 30 by 30 promise must now be put into domestic law, as part of a suite of goals to restore the abundance and diversity of our wildlife, in every country in the UK.’

Craig Bennett, of The Wildlife Trusts, welcomed Mr Johnson’s pledge as a ‘good start’.  

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