The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the Morrison government’s recognition of the need for a strong global agreement at this year’s UN biodiversity conference with its decision to join the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People.

In a statement today Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Environment Minister Sussan Ley announced Australia would join the High Ambition Coalition – an alliance of 60 countries that is working towards a global agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity destruction by protecting at least 30% of the world’s land and 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

“ACF commends the Morrison government for joining the High Ambition Coalition and urges it to take the next step by committing to protect 30% of our land by 2030,” said ACF’s nature campaigner Nathaniel Pelle.

“With our large territory, existing protected area network and unique biodiversity, Australia is much better placed than many countries to be able to protect 30% of our land by 2030 – we should not aim for an aggregate of 30% land and sea.

“The 30% goal is very achievable for us, with more than 30% of our waters and around 20% of Australia’s land already protected in some form.

“Setting this goal is important because our unique wildlife, landscapes and seascapes are under threat like never before.

“This year’s Convention on Biological Diversity conference (COP15) is the most important international biodiversity conference in ten years.

“From the Amazon to the Great Barrier Reef, the world is in the midst of an extinction crisis, with numerous animals and plants being pushed to the brink by land clearing for agriculture, mining and suburban sprawl.

“A landmark study this year found 19 Australian ecosystems, including the Murray-Darling river system, are at risk of collapse.

“Australia has ancient landscapes and amazing wildlife, many of which are found nowhere else on earth – think koalas, platypus, bilbies, emus and Tasmanian devils.

“But Australia has the sad title of being a world leader in mammal extinctions.

“ACF urges the Morrison government to commit to protect at least 30% of the Australia’s land – and to focus on key biodiversity areas and ecosystems at risk of collapse.

“Just last week 50 leading scientists warned the world must solve the climate and biodiversity crises together – or we would solve neither.

“Protecting nature helps safeguard the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat – and makes us more resilient in an era of climate change and pandemics.”

The Convention on Biological Diversity conference (COP15) is scheduled to be held in Kunming, China, in October and will deliver a new Global Biodiversity framework, including goals and targets for biodiversity recovery by 2030 and 2050.

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