The Australian Conservation Foundation has called on Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to actively advocate for strong global goals to reverse nature destruction at the UN’s COP15 biodiversity conference, which starts today in Montreal, Canada.
COP15 aims to achieve a historic global agreement to protect nature.
“COP15 could result in a ‘Paris Agreement’ for nature,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“Nature underpins our lives, our health and our economy, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the places we escape to, our very identity.
“But nature is in crisis. More than a million species are threatened with extinction around the world and few countries have as much at stake as Australia.
“Australia is one of the world’s megadiverse countries, which means a lot of our species are unique and are found nowhere else on Earth.
“Once they are gone, they are gone from the planet. The damage is irreversible.
“Sadly, Australia has a shocking record on nature protection. Since colonisation, 34 Australian mammals have gone extinct, which is about the same number as the rest of the world combined over the past 200 years.
“Nineteen of our most important ecosystems – from the Great Barrier Reef to the Murray-Darling Basin and the Australian Alps – are collapsing.
“Species that define Australia, like the koala, are at threat of extinction because we keep knocking down the trees they need to breed in and feed in.
“Much like the Paris Agreement for climate, COP15 provides a wake-up call for the corporate and financial sectors. The business-as-usual approach of ignoring nature is economically short-sighted and a risk to society.
“The global goals for nature could make corporations adopt transparent reporting and monitoring of operations and supply chains in support of a nature positive transition.
“Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has set a strong goal of no new extinctions.
“We urge the minister to push for other countries to make the same commitment and to actively advocate for strong global goals to reverse nature destruction.”