Protected and Conserved Areas around the world sign first ever Joint Statement on Climate Change and Biodiversity during COP26.
The organisations in charge of some of the largest tracts of protected landscapes and marine environments across the world have come together for the first time during COP26 to call upon world leaders to support their work at the vanguard of the fight against Climate Change and Biodiversity loss.
Orchestrated by National Parks UK, the statement has been signed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)/ World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), EUROPARC, Parks Canada, the United States National Park Service and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and others. The statement has been welcomed and endorsed by UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments.
The statement notes:
‘As a family of Protected and Conserved Areas we recognise that no single site or organisation can address the global crisis of climate change nor the exacerbating impact of climate change on biodiversity loss.
[Together we are] well placed to … support the ambition of countries around the world, including the G7 … by taking rapid and far-reaching actions to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss. We can be the first 30% that inspires and informs land and sea use choices across the remainder of the planet, and we can be the places where billions of people connect with nature and become inspired to play an active part in combatting the dual crises.’
James Stuart, Convener of Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park and architect of the statement commented:
“In the fight against biodiversity loss and climate emergency, if we fail here, we will fail everywhere. We’re star players, don’t leave us on the bench.
“Climate change is not confined within national borders, and I believe this unique agreement can help spread innovation and good practice to our collective benefit. In turn we can show the way for countries, landowners and individuals across the world – inspiring them to put nature and nature-based solutions at the heart of their thinking and their economic and life choices.”
Stuart signed the statement on behalf of UK National Parks in the UK Pavilion at COP26 as part of the Youth Day events. The most prominent signature was reserved for the front of the document and provided by Catriona Manders, Youth Committee & Junior Ranger, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, which is just 20 miles from the COP26 venues in Glasgow. She signed on behalf of future generations, charging Governments and conservation organisations with a duty to work together more closely.
“We are no longer at a point where we can have world leaders ignore the climate and biodiversity crises. We must act now. And we, as protected areas, have a duty of care to be the catalyst that sparks change. We know what we’re fighting for, so let’s fight.”
Philip Hygate, Chair, National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, said:
“We are proud to unite for nature shoulder to shoulder with so many other protected landscape organisations throughout the world. Protected landscapes are at the sharp end of climate change and nature loss and are seeing its effects already.”
During COP26, Dorset AONB Countryside Officer Ian Rees presented the work of the West Dorset Landscape Enhancement Initiative to a Green, Fair Future seminar hosted by Ofgem (see Ian’s presentation at 40 mins in). Ian outlined that the 3 year project supported by the National Grid has restored 14ha meadows and 2km of hedgerows, planted 129 hedgerow oaks and created 9 ponds, all helping nature recover and connect.