Political leaders from all regions and the EU have launched the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, committing to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for sustainable development. The pledge, supported by 70 countries and numerous non-state actors, sends “a united signal” to step up global ambition for biodiversity, nature, climate, and people.

The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, developed by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Belize, Bhutan, Colombia, Costa Rica, the EU, Finland, Kenya, Seychelles, and UK, with intergovernmental and non-governmental partner organizations, was launched during the Leaders Event for Nature and People on 28 September, in support of the first UN Summit on Biodiversity on 30 September.

The leaders recognize that “we are in a state of planetary emergency,” marked by “the interdependent crises of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation and climate change” that aggravate poverty, inequalities, and hunger and malnutrition. The leaders warn that unless “halted and reversed,” these crises will render achievement of the SDGs impossible.

As part of the UN Decade of Action to achieve sustainable development, the leaders commit to achieve the vision of Living in Harmony with Nature by 2050 by undertaking the following ten actions:

  • Put biodiversity, climate, and the environment at the heart of COVID-19 recovery strategies and investments as well as national and international development and cooperation;
  • Develop and implement an ambitious and transformational post-2020 global biodiversity framework for adoption at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming, China, as a key instrument to reach the SDGs;
  • Address the interrelated and interdependent challenges of biodiversity loss, land, freshwater and ocean degradation, deforestation, desertification, pollution, and climate change in an integrated and coherent manner;
  • Transition to sustainable patterns of production and consumption and sustainable food systems that meet people’s needs while remaining within planetary boundaries;
  • Raise ambition and align domestic climate policies with the Paris Agreement on climate change, with enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies consistent with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, and the objective of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by mid-century, and strengthen climate resilience of economies and ecosystems;
  • End environmental crimes which can seriously impact efforts to tackle environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change and undermine security, the rule of law, human rights, public health, and social and economic development;
  • Mainstream biodiversity into relevant sectoral and cross-sectoral policies at all levels, including in food production, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, energy, tourism, infrastructure and extractive industries, and trade and supply chains, as well as into key international agreements and processes;
  • Integrate a “One-Health” approach in all relevant policies and decision-making processes at all levels;
  • Strengthen financial and non-financial means of implementation by, inter alia, incentivizing the financial system to align financial flows to environmental commitments and the SDGs to take into account the value of nature and biodiversity and promote biodiversity conservation, restoration, and sustainable use in investment and financing decisions; and
  • Use a science-based, whole-of-society approach that recognizes the crucial role of traditional and indigenous knowledge as well as science and research in the fight against ecosystem degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change.

The leaders will continue to meet at key international events, including the UN General Assembly high-level week in September 2021, to review progress and reaffirm commitments. The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature is open for further endorsements. [Leaders’ Pledge for Nature Website] [IISD RS Coverage of Leaders Event for Nature and People]