Press release

UK Government urges countries to agree a deal for nature as UN Convention of Biological Diversity gets underway

The United Kingdom Government is set to lead a coalition of high ambition countries in crucial UN talks with the aim of halting species extinctions and biodiversity loss

Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 logo

The UK Government is today (7 December) calling on the world to unite and agree a deal that delivers for nature and ends species extinction.

The 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) is taking place in Canada from today until 19th December. The meeting will set the framework for the next decade of global action on biodiversity loss.

We are losing nature around the world faster than ever before, with more than 1 million species at risk of extinction, and there is stark evidence of habitat loss as coral reefs, rainforests and peatlands reduce in numbers globally. Nature is the foundation of our livelihoods, supporting food production, economic prosperity and security.

The UK has already led the way in driving action to tackle these challenges and is a global leader on the environment and nature. Under the UK’s COP Presidency, 145 countries – representing over 90% of the world’s forests – signed a pledge to halt deforestation and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and rural transformation. At home, we have introduced the Environment Act which delivers a raft of measures to protect our rivers, tackle deforestation and preserve habitats, and will be backed up by a set of legally binding targets due to published soon. This government has also committed £750 million of nature for climate funding to restore peatlands, drive tree planting, and create wildlife rich habitat.

Hosting a reception with prominent environmentalists at the Natural History Museum (Wednesday 7 December), the Environment Secretary will reiterate the importance of reaching a robust agreement to restore and conserve nature at this year’s summit and set out the UK’s role in helping drive this.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey is expected to say:

After two years of intensive global effort towards making ambitious environment targets, it is vital that the world agrees to tackle together the decline in nature and habitats and set out a road to recovery.

WWF Chief Executive Tanya Steele said:

COP15 is about saving our own life support system.  Nature is the source of our health, security and prosperity but WWF’s Living Planet Report 2022 revealed the sheer scale of its loss, with an average 69% decline in the size of global wildlife populations since 1970.

The stakes are high, and time is running out.  This summit is a chance the world must not miss to agree a global deal to reverse nature loss by 2030. World leaders must deliver a landmark agreement for nature to bring our world back to life.”

At the conference, the UK will negotiate to:

  • Halt and reverse biodiversity loss
  • Protect 30% of the world’s land and ocean by 2030.
  • Halt species extinctions
  • Increase the mobilisation of resources from all sources to fund the global effort to halt nature loss
  • Eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies
  • Align all financial flows with the goals and targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework
  • Agree mechanisms for holding countries to account for implementing the framework
  • Share benefits that arise from the use of digital sequence information on genetic resources.

The UK government is also pledging today to launch a new multi-million fund next spring as a key part of our plan to help halt and reverse species decline in England. The new funding will support habitat creation and ecosystem restoration, including in England’s most special sites for nature, and support delivery of our own ambitious commitments at home, including our legally binding 2030 species target and ‘30by30’ pledge.

Published 7 December 2022