“Building Back Better: protecting biodiversity, combating land degradation and mitigating climate change to reduce the risks of future pandemics, and the importance of a coherent approach”

“Building Back Better: protecting biodiversity, combating land degradation and mitigating climate change to reduce the risks of future pandemics, and the importance of a coherent approach”

14 September 2020


Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General, Convention on Wetlands

Speaking on behalf of the Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions:

 

Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat
International Plant Protection Convention
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
International Whaling Commission




Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to contribute to this discussion on behalf of the Liaison Group of the eight  Biodiversity-related Conventions:

Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat
International Plant Protection Convention
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
International Whaling Commission

The components of the natural world – including its water, climate, land and myriad life forms – are intricately connected with each other and with people. They provide the foundation for human society and economy.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of the relationship between people and nature. One of the lessons that we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that human, animal and plant health are connected and inter-dependent, and we must do more to protect the diversity of all life forms.

The degradation and conversion of ecosystems and growing human pressures on the natural world and wild species are increasing the risk of emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID19 - infectious diseases that are initially transmitted between domestic or wild animals to humans. Responses to the pandemic provide a unique opportunity for transformative change. It is essential that they include not only economic stimulus and medical responses but also investment in the health of our planet.

In doing so, it will be crucial to leverage the work of the Biodiversity related Conventions as they make essential contributions to:

  • sustaining our wetlands and water resources;
  • the health and bounty of our oceans;
  •  cooperation among range States to safeguard ecosystems, habitats and animal species;
  •  safeguarding plant genetic resources essential to agriculture and food security;
  • the health of plants  to protect human health and the environment;  
  • the preservation of irreplaceable natural and cultural heritage; and
  • ensuring that wildlife harvest, use and trade is sustainable and safe;


The biodiversity related Conventions make essential contributions to economic, social and cultural wellbeing and to human health and can contribute to green growth and the creation of long term sustainable jobs and livelihoods.

They can provide vital contributions to building back better, preventing the emergence of future pandemics and to a holistic One Health approach for people, animals and the environment.

While each of the conventions has its unique role and objectives, our Parties need to continue to work together to address the loss of biodiversity, and rise to the challenges outlined in the 2019 IPBES global assessment. We believe there is strength in working together to address the respective but related priorities within the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and all of us stand ready to support the Parties with its implementation.   

In addition, the conventions will have a critical role in the framework by contributing to the achievement of specific goals, targets and indicators, within their mandates, in a similar manner to their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals and targets

For these reasons, I would like to stress, on behalf of the Liaison Group, the importance of increasing the commitment to the implementation of the biodiversity-related conventions as part of integrated and holistic approaches to addressing the global challenges of biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, and to building back better.

Thank you.