Creating a planetary safety net

We are facing a planetary emergency. We have already lost two-thirds of biodiversity in just 50 years, and we are on track to see a million species go extinct by 2050. Two out of every five hectares of our land is degraded. We have fewer than 55 years to rebuild our soils - the foundation of our food system. We must protect and restore the earth’s ecosystems, and transform how we produce food and fiber - we must create a planetary safety net - for the future of humanity and for life on Earth.

Explore recent news


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Biden Administration Lays Out 30x30 Vision to Conserve Nature

  • The Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful report outlines the 30x30 initiative, a national goal to conserve at least 30% of U.S. lands, freshwater, and ocean areas by 2030. It seeks to address biodiversity decline and climate change impacts while increasing access to nature for communities.
  • The report proposes an "America the Beautiful Campaign," guided by eight principles, including collaboration, supporting local conservation, and honoring tribal sovereignty. It emphasizes creating parks in nature-deprived communities, supporting tribal-led conservation, expanding wildlife habitats, and incentivizing voluntary conservation efforts.
  • The initiative promotes an inclusive, science-based, and locally driven conservation approach, engaging various stakeholders. It calls for a new relationship with nature that harmonizes with it and aims to maximize carbon sequestration and build resilience to address the climate crisis.

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High Seas Treaty: Historic Deal to Protect International Waters Finally Reached at UN

  • UN member states have reached an agreement on a historic treaty to protect the high seas, covering nearly two-thirds of the ocean beyond national boundaries. The treaty will provide a legal framework for establishing marine protected areas, addressing issues like governance and biodiversity.
  • The treaty is crucial for enforcing the 30x30 pledge made by countries at the UN biodiversity conference to protect a third of the sea and land by 2030. Without it, the 30x30 target would be at risk, as there was no legal mechanism for high seas marine protected areas (MPAs).
  • Key players like the EU, US, UK, and China, along with the Global South, played a significant role in brokering the deal. The treaty addresses the sharing of marine genetic resources and will set up an initial fund to ensure benefits are shared fairly. The European Union pledged €40 million to facilitate the treaty's ratification and implementation.

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Heads of State and Ministers Announce New Support for 30×30 Targets

  • Presidents and ministers from various countries, including Palau, Nigeria, Costa Rica, the UK, France, and the US, express their support for the 30x30 target, aiming to protect 30% of the world's land and ocean by 2030 to combat biodiversity loss and climate change.
  • The High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People welcomes Palau, and an "ECOWAS Appeal for an Ambitious Global Response to the Biodiversity Crisis" is endorsed by all 15 members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
  • A total of 112 countries worldwide now support the 30x30 target, with leaders emphasizing their commitment to achieving it at the upcoming COP15 summit, focusing on conservation, climate mitigation, and collaboration with Indigenous communities.

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Ecosystem Restoration Could Prevent 70% of Extinctions

  • Restoring 30% of lands converted for farming in priority areas, while preserving natural ecosystems, could prevent over 70% of projected extinctions of mammals, birds, and amphibians and sequester more than 465 billion tons of CO2 increase, aiding in climate change mitigation and biodiversity preservation.
  • A cutting-edge algorithm has been developed to prioritize global locations for ecosystem restoration based on criteria of biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and costs, highlighting the importance of restoring various types of ecosystems beyond just forests.
  • This research demonstrates the global potential for ecosystem restoration to address both the climate change and biodiversity crises, emphasizing the need for international collaboration and cooperation to meet overarching global targets for restoration efforts.

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EU Parliament Passes Law to Restore Degraded Natural Ecosystems

  • The European Parliament has approved a law to restore degraded natural ecosystems, despite opposition from some lawmakers. The legislation aims to require countries to restore nature on a fifth of their land and sea by 2030 to reverse the decline of Europe's natural habitats.
  • The vote comes after months of political campaigning, with deep divisions among EU countries and lawmakers. Some government leaders argued that Europe is imposing too many environmental laws as part of its green agenda.
  • The law has received support from climate activists, scientists, and many companies, with the aim of revitalizing soils, supporting pollinators, and addressing climate change impacts. The European People's Party (EPP), the parliament's largest lawmaker group, led the campaign against the plan, claiming it would harm farmers and food security. However, other lawmakers and scientists rejected these claims, emphasizing that the law is for nature's benefit.

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Who Decides on ‘Priorities’ for Ecosystem Restoration?

  • The U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is ongoing, and global leaders are looking for solutions to address climate change and species loss. Restoration targets, such as protecting 30% of the Earth's land and oceans by 2030, are being considered, but they face challenges.
  • A study led by Bernardo Strassburg and his colleagues suggested that restoration of 15% of degraded ecosystems could sequester a significant amount of carbon and prevent extinctions. However, critics argue that the study's assumptions and prioritization maps may not consider local impacts, potentially jeopardizing food security and community rights.
  • Researchers express concerns about the overly optimistic estimates of carbon sequestration and the emphasis on particular regions for restoration. They suggest that a more democratic, community-driven approach to restoration is needed, rather than top-down, global models that could prioritize wealthy nations over affected communities.

Think about it!

Take a moment to reflect on some of the key issues related to protecting and restoring our planet from the recent news. How might these issues affect the future?

Accelerating action for nature:

Where does your government stand on the goal of achieving the conservation of 30% and restoration of 30% of land and water? What steps might be needed to accelerate action in your context?

Making the case for protecting ecosystems:

What economic and social arguments are needed to make the case for ecosystem protection and restoration in your context?

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Andreea Alexandra Mitrofan commented 7 months ago ago

Dig even deeper!

Use these exercises to dive deeper and explore what might be involved in creating a planetary safety net through protection and restoration.

Identify protection and restoration opportunities:

Visit the UN Biodiversity Lab and identify existing protected areas and degraded lands. Where might efforts go to create new protected areas and restore ecosystems in your community?

Imagine a hopeful future:

Imagine a hopeful future for massive action on protection and restoration in the next 25 years within your community. What impacts of this protection and restoration would you like to see in your area?

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Andrea Pazos Niño de Guzmán commented 7 months ago

Start a conversation!

Spark meaningful conversations on social media! Share the recommended posts to inspire your network to reflect and take action.

Time to create a planetary safety net

Stand up for our planet! The time to restore and protect nature is now. Learn what we can do to slow and halt the degradation of ecosystems and foster their recovery. #NatureForLife

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Time to restore and protect life on Earth

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework calls on governments to protect 30% of the planet and restore 30% of the planet. Discover how we can make this happen and be part of the change! #NatureForLife

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