Over the course of the day, three pillars – Present, Hope and Vision – set the context for the nexus between biodiversity and climate change, share solutions and define pathways to scale up urgent action that addresses biodiversity loss and climate action.
The day kicked off with a High-Level opening on “Connecting Climate and Biodiversity” that set the agenda to address the urgent need for integrated responses at scale.
Speaking on Biodiversity Day, COP27 President H.E. Sameh Shoukry said that biodiversity on our planet is at the heart of people’s economic, social, and cultural wellbeing, but climate change is accelerating biodiversity loss around the globe.
“The rapid destruction of ecosystems is increasing our vulnerability to the impact of climate change. We cannot address biodiversity loss without ramping up our implementation of climate solutions. They are not mutually exclusive,” said COP27 President.
On the same day, the Egyptian COP27 Presidency and the International Union for Conservation of Nature launched the initiative Enhancing Nature-based Solutions for an Accelerated Climate Transformation (ENACT) to protect biodiversity.
ENACT aims to accelerate the implementation of nature-based solutions and encourage further dialogue about the value of nature-based solutions in protecting biodiversity and ecosystems through consecutive COPs, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment said in a statement.
“ENACT aims to protect at least 1 billion people and 2.4 billion hectares of healthy ecosystems, while restoring 350 million hectares of damaged ecosystems,” the ministry added
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP)explains that the loss of biodiversity is already significantly affecting regional and global changes in climate.
While natural ecosystems play an important role in regulating climate and can help to sequester and store carbon, the loss of forests, the draining of wetlands and other environmental degradation has contributed significantly to climate change.
According to the agency, efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation and restore ecosystems, for example, could contribute to lowering annual greenhouse gas emissions.
— COP27 (@COP27P) November 16, 2022
At the same time, biodiversity is affected by extreme weather events and temperatures, especially in developing countries, due to limited resources to protect them. This is worrying, since 15 of the 17 countries with the largest biodiversity are in the global South.
The effects of climate change on biodiversity are already visible, especially with many animal species already forced to change migration patterns, plants struggling to adapt to changes in temperature, and of course seriously vulnerable polar bears – the ‘poster animals’ of global warming – starving at the North Pole due to the lack of sea ice in a warming world.
Protecting nature and preserving biodiversity requires scientific solutions and sufficient finance, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda Mahmoud Mohieldin.
During a session on “Climate Repair”, at COP27, Mohieldin said that scientific institutions and research centers are playing a good role in finding scientific solutions to nature and climate crises, but financing climate action faces major challenges and needs innovative solutions.