Published on 31 August 2023
“It stands as a testament to the collective determination of nations to steer our planet towards a healthier future for the planet and its people.” Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility.
This statement by Carlos Manuel Rodríguez to the assembly, which was in attendance by environmental leaders and managers from governments, business, academia, and civil society including women and young people, underscores how this pivotal moment will be etched into history (GEF, 2023).
The momentum of ‘NATURE Action’ in 2023 is undeniable, as governments and corporate bodies set their sights on the urgent need to halt and reverse the alarming loss of biodiversity. This year welcomed a ground-breaking commitment by nearly 200 governments who, at COP 15 in December 2022, established the Global Biodiversity Framework, a comprehensive blueprint for safeguarding nature.
The march of progress continued with the landmark approval of the EU Nature Restoration Law, a pioneering legislation that aims to restore ecosystems on a continent-wide scale. The parallel stride came in the form of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) which was ratified and launched by 185 countries.
The GBFF has been designed to mobilise and accelerate investment in the conservation and sustainability of wild species and ecosystems, whose health is under threat from wildfires, flooding, habitat loss, extreme weather, and human activity including urban sprawl. Backed by initial contributions by Canada of 200 million dollars and 10 million Great British Pounds from the United Kingdom (GEF, 2023), this fund is potentially a potent weapon against these threats.
Above: The impact of wildfires creates habitat loss, impacting biodiversity, economy and vital resource. Image Credit: Landon Parenteau
Amidst this historic year with the European Business Nature Summit 2023 in view, the following key pathways beckon us towards a sustainable future:
Above: A sapling takes root in a forest. Image Credit: Oskari Manninen
Today, the urgency of these actions has heightened. The evidence is irrefutable, glaring, and unequivocal – from escalating climate change impacts to unprecedented biodiversity loss, the planet is sending distress signals. Wildfires continue to ravage various parts of the world. The need for decisive action has become ever more urgent. The unprecedented hurricane season fuelled by oceanic temperatures to the dramatic Greenland heatwave and ice sheet melt (Arctic Risk Platform, 2023) are particularly alarming.
However, the opportunities for positive change are equally profound. Fundamental shifts are needed – binding commitments, nurturing our bond with nature, and embedding environmental urgency in education. The stakes are higher than ever, and the time for ‘Nature Action is now or never’ given that the collapse of the natural ecosystem is an ‘act-now-or-perish situation.’
Patrick Oko Quaye is a RENEW PhD student in management studies, working with RENEW Theme 4. Business and Finance Decision-makers.
Banner image: Mike Benna. Unsplash