Business & UN

The time to act is now, ICC tells UN Biodiversity Summit

  • 30 September 2020

Genuine resilience in the recovery from Covid-19 will only be achieved if there is concerted action to reverse biodiversity loss, ICC Secretary John W.H. Denton AO has stated in a message to today’s United Nations Summit on Biodiversity.

Underscoring that an inflection point had been reached in the relationship with the planet and its resources, Mr Denton asked Summit participants: “If now is not the time for us to act, when will it be?”

As member states prepare to adopt a global biodiversity framework for the next decade, Mr Denton said today’s Summit presented an opportunity to signal commitment to placing biodiversity conservation at the core of a resilient, inclusive and sustainable economic rebuild.

“Such a global framework must support business action for biodiversity with ambitious, measurable targets that reflect the latest science,” Mr Denton said.

“It should also squarely confront the financing challenges in biodiversity conservation – and recognise that a holistic approach to resource mobilisation is necessary.”

In his message as the institutional voice of the global private sector to discussions, Mr Denton highlighted the threat that natural disasters posed to the economy and businesses and said business was committed to supporting an ambitious and effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework that draws on and supports scientific research and innovation. Mr Denton announced that to date, 560 companies – with revenues totalling more than US$4 trillion – have signed the Business for Nature Call to Action launched last week, signalling their desire for governments to adopt an ambitious global framework for biodiversity.

“Businesses throughout ICC’s global network are already taking action, but voluntary initiatives alone will not get us there. A collective effort is needed to provide impact beyond its singular parts,” he said.

Calling on leaders to leverage private sector expertise to shape and scale solutions that provide a win-win-win for nature, society and the economy, Mr Denton said that Covid-19 need not prevent 2020 from being a “super year” for global action on the environment.  Mr Denton called for action to conclude a robust global agreement – under the auspices of World Trade Organization – to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies by the end of the year and to explore how biodiversity preservation can be leveraged to limit the growing risk of sovereign debt distress compounding the human and economic toll of the pandemic.

“Covid-19 has left no doubt of the urgency with which we must confront the systems fragilities exposed by the spread of the virus. And as the effects of nature loss are already being felt, along with the interlinked effects of climate change – if now is not the time for us to act, when will be?”

Convened by the President of the UN General Assembly, today’s Summit on Biodiversity is being held under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”

Earlier this week Mr Denton became a signatory of the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for sustainable development.

Watch John W.H. Denton’s message to world leaders: