New Delhi, April 15
At the Our Ocean Conference in Palau, the US officially announced to join the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, a group of more than 90 countries, encouraging the adoption of the global goal to protect and conserve at least 30 per cent of the planet — land and sea — by 2030, commonly referred to as "30×30."
Scientists have issued repeated warnings that nature is in a state of crisis, threatened by habitat loss, pollution, overexploitation, invasive species, and climate change.
The ongoing and rapid loss of natural areas across the world poses a grave threat to the health and security of all living things. However, overwhelming scientific evidence shows that conserving at least 30 per cent of the global land and ocean can not only help curb biodiversity loss and prevent extinctions but also store carbon, help prevent future pandemics, and bolster economic growth.
The announcement from US Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Monica Medina was made on Thursday that the US will join the HAC. The US is considered a "megadiverse" country with the second largest territorial waters and the fourth largest landmass in the world.
The Biden administration has already pledged to conserve 30 per cent of the US land and sea; it is now pushing for the goal to be adopted at the global scale.
The announcement follows the Biden administration's launch this week of a $1 billion program, called the America the Beautiful Challenge, to advance its national 30×30 goal.
The US is considered a "megadiverse" country, one of 17 globally that harbor a large number of species, especially large numbers of endemic species.
The global 30×30 goal has been endorsed by the G7 and is currently a centerpiece of a UN Convention on Biological Diversity agreement under consideration, known as the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is considered to be as important to the fate of the planet as the Paris climate agreement.
The HAC is made up of a diversity of members, including nations from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America.
To note, 30×30 is proposed as a global target, as countries will have different opportunities for biodiversity conservation depending on the particular circumstances in their national territory.
It is appropriate that it be a sovereign decision made in conjunction with the best science and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.
Brian O'Donnell, Director, Campaign for Nature, told IANS in a statement: "By joining the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, the United States is demonstrating global leadership for nature protection.
"We know that many of the species that we treasure in America, including birds, whales and caribou migrate from other countries. Intact forests in the Amazon and Congo basins are essential in mitigating climate change globally.
"It's imperative that the world works together to address the crisis facing nature. We are grateful for the international nature conservation leadership that the Biden administration has announced today and hope that other countries will join in to support the essential global target to protect and conserve at least 30 per cent of the world's lands and oceans by 2030."