At the start of the World Nature Summit in Canada, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a "peace agreement with nature" with emphatic words. The planet needs a strong agreement to protect biodiversity on earth: With the bottomless appetite for uncontrolled and unequal economic growth, humanity has become a "weapon of mass destruction," Guterres repeated on Wednesday in Montreal at the start of the negotiations. "Ecosystems are at the mercy of the Profits." Man's activities have devastated forests, farmland, oceans, rivers and lakes, among other things.
"We are waging war against nature. This conference is about the urgent task of making peace," Guterres said on Wednesday. Mankind treats nature like a toilet. "And ultimately we are committing vicariously suicide, because the loss of nature and biodiversity comes at a huge cost to humanity." At the World Nature Summit, the "orgy of destruction" must end: "No excuses. No delays. Promises must be kept."
Landmark agreement in sight?
Organizers, scientists and representatives of non-governmental organizations are hoping that the meeting, which is scheduled to run until December 19, will lead to a landmark global agreement on species protection. One of the main goals of the conference is to protect at least 30 percent of the world's land and sea areas by 2030. A solid financial basis for global species protection also plays an important role in the forthcoming negotiations.
Federal Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) advocated strengthening the rights of indigenous peoples in global nature conservation. "One of the keys to success at the World Conference on Nature is not just seeing nature, but also the people who live in and from nature," said Schulze of the German Press Agency. Nature conservation works best when it also offers the locals an economic perspective. This is where development policy comes into play. It must be designed in such a way that it is more worthwhile "to live from nature than from its destruction," emphasized Schulze.
Guterres impressed by climate activists
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on the participating states to adopt an effective agreement. "Nature is threatened - it is being attacked." Trudeau briefly interrupted his speech due to a protest from activists.
UN chief Guterres emphasized that he was impressed by young climate activists all over the world - but it cannot be left to young people to fix the current chaos. "We must take responsibility for the damage we have caused and act to fix it. Despite the dreams of deluded billionaires, there is no Planet B. We must fix the world , which we have."
Originally, the 15th World Summit on Nature - which also goes by the abbreviation COP15 - should have taken place in China in 2020. However, it was then postponed and divided due to the ongoing pandemic situation there. The first part of the negotiations took place last October, mainly online, in Kunming, China.