By G9ija

Leaders have called for increased efforts to protect biodiversity.

They made this known at the first ever Summit held on biodiversity to build political momentum towards the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, to be adopted at COP15 in Kunming, China next year.

A record number of countries – nearly 150 countries and 72 Heads of State and Government addressed the summit.

The Summit comes on the heels of the Leader’s Pledge on Monday, which saw 74 countries commit to preserving biodiversity, sending “a united signal to step up global ambition for biodiversity and to commit to matching our collective ambition for nature, climate and people with the scale of the crisis at hand.”

He added, “A green recovery, with an emphasis on protecting biodiversity, can address these concerns, mitigate risks, and build a more sustainable, resilient world. Doing so can help unlock an estimated US$10 trillion in business opportunities, create 395 million jobs by 2030 and encourage a greener economy.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said biodiversity and ecosystems are essential for human progress and prosperity. “By living in harmony with nature, we can avert the worst impacts of climate change and recharge biodiversity for the benefit of people and the planet.”

“Let me be clear,” he added. “Degradation of nature is not purely an environmental issue. It spans economics, health, social justice and human rights. Neglecting our precious resources can exacerbate geopolitical tensions and conflicts. Yet, too often environmental health is overlooked or downplayed by other government sectors. This Summit is our opportunity to show the world that there is another way. We have to change course and transform our relationship with the natural world.”

In addition to leaders, the Summit heard from HRH Prince Charles, who called for a new

UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said the Summit showed a greater willingness to act.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said: “This Summit has as much to do with people as it has to do with nature. It is about people’s dependence on nature, people’s inabilities to see the complexity of nature, and people’s blindness, sometimes greed and ignorance, and the blind spot of economies and economics for so long to recognize the value of ecosystem services. We are coming to a point in history where there is growing awareness that action on biodiversity is inextricably linked with broader human development through the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.”