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Biodiversity Day: Antonio Guterres calls for urgent measures to halt environmental decline

Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, has called for urgent measures to halt environmental decline.

Guterres spoke in his message to commemorate the International Day for Biological Biodiversity, which is celebrated annually on May 22.

The event is coordinated by the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as part of the United Nations Environment Programme.

The annual event urges governments to fully implement a landmark agreement to halt and reverse nature loss by mid-century.

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Guterres said greenhouse gas emissions are disrupting landscapes and ecosystems, noting that the degradation of biodiversity is damaging sustainable development around the world.

He said world leaders must act urgently to put biodiversity on a path to recovery.

“The world’s complex web of biological diversity sustains all life on earth. Yet it is unravelling at alarming speed and humanity is to blame,” the UN chief said.

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“We are contaminating land, oceans, and freshwater with toxic pollution, wrecking landscapes and ecosystems, and disrupting our precious climate with greenhouse gas emissions.

“Decimating biodiversity damages sustainable development today and creates a dangerous and uncertain tomorrow.

“The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework offers a pathway to reverse loss and restore biodiversity – while creating jobs, building resilience, and spurring sustainable development.

“Governments must lead. But as this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity reminds us, we are all “Part of the Plan” – we all have a role to play.

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“Indigenous Peoples, businesses, financial institutions, local and regional authorities, civil society, women, young people, and academia must work together to value, protect, and restore biodiversity in a way that benefits everyone.

“As we mark this day for biological diversity, let us commit to be part of the plan. Let us act urgently to put biodiversity on a path to recovery.

“And let us build ambition to CBD COP16 in October to protect the planet and create a more sustainable future for us all.”

The Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework, also known as the biodiversity plan, aims to protect 30 percent of the planet’s lands, coastal areas, and inland waters by 2030.

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