Reading between the lines: G7 leaders make important commitments to nature
Naturally much of the focus of the recent G7 Summit, held in Elmau, Germany addressed the war in Ukraine and its economic and security repercussions, including on food and energy. That being said, and perhaps lost beneath the headlines, their G7 Leaders’ Communiqué underscored a variety of important commitments to nature that should be brought to light.
The G7 leaders clearly recognised that the climate, biodiversity, and pollution crises are inseparable, and must be addressed urgently and holistically. To that end, they committed to substantially increase funding for nature by 2025, and to ensure that it does no harm. This, they noted, will require government actions and reforms, including eliminating harmful subsidies to nature, as well as mobilising private finance towards net-zero and nature-positive outcomes. They also called on multilateral development banks to increase and disclose their finance for nature, and to pledge concrete amounts to international biodiversity finance before the Biodiversity Summit at the end of the year.
Acknowledging that biodiversity is declining at a faster rate than at any other time in human history, the G7 reaffirmed their commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, reverse land degradation and forest loss, and protect and conserve at least 30% of land and sea by 2030. Importantly, commitments towards transitioning the agricultural sector from being a source of emissions and biodiversity loss towards a contributor to both climate and nature were also made. Recognising that a clean, healthy ocean is fundamental for all life, they pledged to lead on achieving legally binding instruments both on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) and on plastic pollution.
Tying these various pieces together, G7 leaders noted that Nature-based Solutions (NbS) represent an essential tool to enhance synergies between the climate and biodiversity agendas, and they pledged to mobilise funding for, mainstream, and scale up their implementation. This was, in fact, the key message that had come from last year’s IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille. Indeed, it also reinforced the recognition by UNFCCC Parties – for the very first time – in the Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26 of the “interlinked global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss”, and the “critical role of protecting, conserving and restoring nature and ecosystems in delivering benefits for climate adaptation and mitigation”.
At the recent UNFCCC intersessionals in Bonn, which saw the start of the First Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement and the commencement of new work programmes on both mitigation and adaptation, IUCN highlighted the important contribution that NbS could make, alongside deep decarbonisation, to limit global warming to 1.5°C. It will be critical for all Parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) before UNFCCC COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. For their part, the G7 leaders, in their communiqué, expressed strong support for this. They also stressed the urgency of adopting a transformative, ambitious, and effective post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at CBD COP15 in Montreal later this year.
G7 leadership will be key in delivering progress on both biodiversity and climate this year. Also critical will be to ensure that there is no backsliding on their past promises, and that all the commitments that they have now made translate into concrete actions.
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