Day Ten: Think about your children

The Nagoya biodiversity summit is almost over and we’re now one step away from finding out its final outcome. But whatever the result will be, I have a strong feeling that these two weeks have brought something new to the world of conservation and I look forward to seeing how this positive energy is turned into action, writes IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre.

Julia Marton-Lefèvre

One thing that you can’t help noticing here in the Nagoya conference area, both in the sessions and in the corridors, is that biodiversity, and the well-being of nature and ecosystems are no longer seen as side issues but as central issues that concern every single citizen.

This summit is very different to all the ones we’ve had in the past. It has included many people that are not the usual actors in biodiversity discussions: We’ve not only had ministers of the environment here, but also ministers of foreign affairs, ministers of finance as well as a large number of parliamentarians, local authorities and city officials, business leaders and the representatives of conservation and development non-governmental organizations. The inextricable links between biodiversity and climate have also been stressed throughout the deliberations. This really is a sign that biodiversity issues have been mainstreamed as a concern of all parts of society.

I’m passionate about the issues at stake here so it’s been really interesting to follow the discussions. I’m also passionate about IUCN and its incredible work: I’m very proud of the important role we’ve played in the discussions and negotiations here. I’ve heard nothing but compliments for our 63-year old solid scientific inputs into these issues and IUCN has been referred to and asked for scientific opinion throughout all of the different types of sessions. It’s great to see such important evidence that our experience and scientific credibility is appreciated and trusted.

The conference is scheduled to end this evening and of course we all hope that it will bring us a solid agreement on all the issues discussed here. But what’s even more important is that this ‘mainstreaming’ of biodiversity that we’ve seen becomes a reality for all parts of society—and I think we’re on the way to see that happen.

My message now to the parties before the meeting closes is to ask them to think on a longer time-frame, beyond their mandates in their governments, to consider the state of the planet they are leaving for their children and their children’s children. If we act now there is still time to ensure that nature will be able to continue to provide its life support services to future generations.

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