The Green Party welcomes an historic new global agreement to protect 30% of the planet for nature by the end of the decade and calls on the Government to follow it with immediate action to protect native wildlife.
The agreement at the COP15 UN biodiversity summit in Montreal, Canada, came overnight New Zealand time and includes targets for protecting vital ecosystems such as rainforests and wetlands. The final text also recognises Indigenous Peoples’ work, knowledge and practices as the most effective tool for biodiversity protection.
“This is an important moment for nature and must be followed with immediate action to protect our forests, rivers and oceans for future generations," says the Green Party’s co-leader, James Shaw.
“The new agreement comes as biodiversity is declining worldwide at rates never seen before - and while it marks a turning point for nature, it is only the beginning of the work that needs to be done.
“Exactly as it is with the climate, the agreement will only ever be as good as its implementation - and this new agreement has left the most crucial work for nature protection as homework for governments.
“Even though more than 30% of our land in Aotearoa is protected as part of the conservation estate, nearly 4,000 native plants and animals are at risk of extinction. When it comes to the oceans, less than one percent is under any sort of protection.
“The need for urgent action is as clear as it has ever been and it is time to step up,” says James Shaw.
The Green Party’s conservation spokesperson, Eugenie Sage added:
“There are multiple causes of biodiversity loss. On land, the biggest driver is agriculture. In the ocean, it’s overfishing. Mining, climate change, nutrient and sediment pollution, and invasive species also play a role.
“Here in Aotearoa we can use this global moment to do better and put nature at the forefront of every government decision.
“Under the new agreement, governments will be required to show progress with national biodiversity plans, similar to the way countries use Nationally Determined Contributions in the Paris climate agreement.
“The Green Party expects New Zealand’s contribution to include a central role for Māori-led conservation practices. Indigenous peoples are critical to nature protection and we were delighted to see this recognised in the final agreement.
“The new global agreement has been a long time coming, taking more than four years of negotiations, but we know it is just the start. The best way to put our degraded nature on a path to recovery is to make sure the Greens have more influence on the Government after the next election,” says Eugenie Sage.