Nicole Egan - Nov 09 2021
National Parks and Nature Reserves from around the World Sign Historic Joint Statement

Credit: Rich Martello

In the first week of COP26, Protected and Conserved Areas from across the globe have come together to sign the first-ever joint statement on climate change and biodiversity. Initiated by UK National Parks, the statement has been signed by 26 groups representing parks, wildlife, and forest services around the world, with hopes to represent at least 3,000 of the 4,000 National Parks across the world in time for the COP15 UN conference on biodiversity in China in April 2022.

The group, which oversee some of the largest tracts of protected lands and environments in the world have called on governments, investors, and supporters to work with and support Protected and Conserved Areas to address the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Underscoring the necessity for global collaboration, the group detail numerous assessments that have documented the need for rapid and far-reaching transformations across all sectors of society and the economy.

The statement calls for at least 30 percent of the planet to be protected by 2030 (“30by30”), in line with the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2021 manifesto and the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People targets.

Foundations for 30by30

Painting a picture of a future they can catalyse, the group make a case for Protected and Conserved Areas to serve as the first 30 percent of global land and ocean to address climate change, and halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. The group position their global network as the places billions of people connect with nature and can be inspired to play an active part in combatting the dual crises through informing both land and sea use choices.

Putting forth seven elements for a 30by30 foundation, the group highlight their unique ability to:

• Support the development of sustainable landscapes and seascapes
• Be a focus for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – and within that support the development of templates for restoring degraded ecosystems to improve the resilience of natural systems
• Support climate change mitigation by being global sinks for carbon and by making our operations carbon neutral
• Play a vital role climate change adaptation, reducing inequality, enhancing rights, social, economic, and ecological resilience to climate impacts
• Contribute to disaster risk reduction through natural solutions
• Support educational activities to inspire and inform billions of annual visitors
• Halt and reverse biodiversity loss

Palladium Managing Director Jose Maria Ortiz points to the success of Revere as an innovative example of what national parks can do. Revere is a joint venture between UK National Parks and Palladium developed to restore national habitats across the UK using private capital.

“Innovative business models and other new solutions are emerging that reflect the true value of nature. These need the right enabling environment to success, which is what National Parks and protected landscapes provide,” he says.

Capabilities for Change

Noting that designation and protection are not enough to address the climate and biodiversity loss crises, the group articulate the need for action, and the role they can play. From nature restoration to knowledge transfer that supports global progress, to the effective governance and funding models that are also key pieces of the solution, Protected and Conserved Areas across the globe are uniquely positioned to provide valuable insights.

Creative financial vehicles, cross-sector partnerships, and new approaches to valuing nature will be critical in the years to come in mitigating and adapting to climate change. As the group commit to championing the role they can play, and raising awareness around their abilities, they are also calling for other bodies to put their names to the statement.

At a time when global collaboration is critical, let’s hope this initiative brings strategic thinkers and leaders worldwide together with impact in mind.

Learn more about Revere, read the joint statement, and contact for more information.