STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY HIS EXCELLENCY DR. MOHAMED IRFAAN ALI, PRESIDENT OF THE COOPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA, TO THE UNITED NATIONS SUMMIT ON BIODIVERSITY (New York, 30 September 2020)
Secretary General António Guterres,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. Please allow me at the outset, to express the Group's appreciation to you for convening this Summit on Biodiversity during these challenging times. It is essential that we highlight, at the highest levels, the urgency for action in support of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework that contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
3. The Summit on Biodiversity is very fitting. Its timing coincides with the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020. We have also embarked on the Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development. Regrettably, the progress in achieving biodiversity targets, including in the SDGs, has been unsatisfactory. The increase in biodiversity loss continues to hinder the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, resulting in adverse impacts on our people and planet. Likewise, poverty and the insufficient results in the achievement of many SDGs place additional burdens on the environment and on any process to halt biodiversity loss.
4. We are at a crossroad and we cannot be complacent. This Summit must exhibit the political will for a post-2020 global biodiversity framework, consistent with the 2030 Agenda. The framework must also include a strong resource mobilization component. Our deliberations should propel the global community along a path towards realizing the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity of "Living in Harmony with Nature". This can only be achieved by addressing, in a balanced manner, the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, namely: "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources."
5. Consequently, the Group is deeply concerned that our already daunting development challenges have been gravely exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impacts are certain to go well beyond 2020, eroding the development gains achieved over many decades and could hinder efforts to halt global biodiversity loss. The effects of the pandemic will exacerbate the degradation of biodiversity and a result in substantial increase in global poverty. It will undermine the financial capacity of developing countries to implement the sustainable development agenda.
6. Therefore, we call for a commitment to increase the mobilization of resources to allow for the actions needed to halt biodiversity loss. This will involve developed countries substantially increasing their financial commitment to the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework in developing countries.
7. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of the relationship between people and nature. This recognition must increase our awareness of the need to ensure a harmonious balance between human activity and nature. We must emphasize the importance of biological diversity to present and future generations. Hence, the Group is ready to work for a successful fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, under the theme "Ecological civilization: building a shared future for all life on Earth."
8. The Group of 77 and China stresses that urgent and significant actions are needed to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt biodiversity loss, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species. We are deeply concerned that up to one million species currently face the threat of extinction, more than at any other time in human history. And we deeply regret the potentially high number of species that disappeared in the past centuries, most of which have gone unaccounted for.
9. We urge the international community to strengthen its efforts to counter these trends and protect the ecosystems, including the restoration of degraded forests, and to substantially increase afforestation, reforestation and conservation globally, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Halting biodiversity loss is a common goal of humanity. Every country should be engaged in this endeavor to the best of its capability.
10. Furthermore, with respect to the oceans, we must all remain steadfast in deliberations, with a view to concluding the negotiations for an international legally binding instrument, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
11. We look forward to engaging constructively in the Summit's dialogues and to taking firm actions to put nature on a path to recovery.