Facing challenges in preserving global biodiversity, the world should steer social and economic development in a nature-based direction like China has done, the chief of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has said.
Calling for awareness of threats to climate and biodiversity, Bruno Oberle, director general of the IUCN based in Gland, Switzerland, said, “Both crises are global. Both crises require big transformation of our societies and our economies. Both crises are rooted in the way we produce and consume today.”
An upcoming UN conference in China will provide a platform for “almost all countries in the world” to “reflect and discuss what kind of actions have to be taken to protect nature and to halt the losses of biodiversity,” he told Xinhua in an interview.
As a panelist, Oberle will virtually attend the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known as COP15, which kicks off Monday in Kunming, the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
Themed “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth,” the meeting is expected to draw up a blueprint for protecting global biodiversity for the next decade.
“We know how to create growth, jobs, wealth for everyone on the planet, at the same time respecting the boundaries that the planet is giving us. This needs new products. This needs new services. This needs new investments,” Oberle said.
“We have to steer carefully our societies and our economies in that direction,” he added.
As the incoming president of COP15, China is promoting “the post-2020 global biodiversity framework” under the guidance of ecological civilization, a philosophy proposed by the country to achieve harmony between humans and nature.
Since China joined the IUCN in 1996, the two sides have worked together to develop “the Chinese concept of the standard on the nature-based solutions,” Oberle said, adding “this is supported by a number of examples of successful implementation of nature-based principles in China.”
To improve biodiversity governance, China has made biodiversity conservation a national strategy, rolling out measures to improve legal and policy frameworks, expand oversight on law enforcement and encourage public participation.
Oberle highlighted the protection of giant pandas in China, a species that has been re-classified from endangered to vulnerable after decades of effort to keep it from extinction. “This was very well taught and very well implemented and very successful.”
“China is playing a bigger role,” he said while commending Beijing’s contribution to global biodiversity and climate agendas.
Oberle said the urgent need to preserve nature should galvanize the world, saying, “we face a common endeavor and a common challenge. And we will only find this solution if we all together work in this direction.”