DG Statement | 30 Nov, 2022

IUCN Director General’s open letter to Members ahead of UN CBD COP 15

Dear IUCN Members,

As IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), we have an enormous responsibility. Since 1948, we have been the global authority keeping our finger on the pulse of biodiversity.

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Photo: Biosphoto - Alamy

Today we must take all the necessary steps to ensure that when the gavel falls to close the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15) on 19 December 2022, we have secured a strong, balanced and ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The adoption of such a global plan to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and achieve a nature-positive world by 2030 cannot wait any longer.

The situation is urgent. Biodiversity continues to decline at unprecedented rates. Over a quarter of species assessed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM face extinction, almost all because of human activities.

Even if the biggest losses tend to occur where biodiversity is greatest, the pattern is the same everywhere. This is not an issue of the developing or the developed world;  the demise of our natural world affects us all across national boundaries.

Make no mistake, the biodiversity crisis is also a climate crisis. UNFCCC COP 27 made clear that the temperature limits set by the Paris Agreement will not be achieved without protecting every intact ecosystem, restoring what has already been depleted, and allowing nature and Nature-based Solutions to do their part.

We have more than enough data to demand our political leaders and policymakers act now, without further delay.

IUCN Members, partners and friends, many of you are engaged in this process spearheaded by the Convention on Biological Diversity. I call on all of you to join forces in this last leg of the negotiations. We must ensure that the framework, its goals and targets, contain all the essential elements to tackle the loss of nature and deliver action to achieve the vision of living in harmony with nature.

At the very minimum, the framework must ensure:

  • Conservation of at least 30% of terrestrial, inland water, marine and coastal ecosystems globally;
  • Scaling-up of species conservation; 
  • Restoration of degraded ecosystems at scale;
  • Recognition and inclusion of Nature-based Solutions in relevant targets;
  • Increased financial resources - from all sources - to at least USD 200 billion per year, including new and additional financial resources.

However, we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. To overcome the almost 1,000 brackets currently in the framework’s text, we will have to find a middle way. This will only be possible in a spirit of compromise. Let us rally around our common vision of a just world that values and conserves nature.

I invite you to consult, share and amplify IUCN’s messages to COP 15, and hope to see many of you in Montreal.


Bruno Oberle signature

Dr Bruno Oberle
Director General