WATCH: 88% of experts believe state of nature in the world to be
'catastrophic and potentially irreversible'
Dominic Naidoo, IOL
November 18, 2022
Global call for world leaders to prioritise critical UN Biodiversity
conference in Montreal and deliver an ambitious agreement that reverses
nature loss by 2030 for a nature-positive world.
More than 350 leaders across all walks of life warned that world leaders
must deliver an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework at the Convention
on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 this December if mankind is to secure a
nature-positive world this decade.
The leaders come from across science, civil society, Indigenous Peoples,
faith, youth and business and express “deep concerns at the lack of
ambition among government parties”.
According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) press release, the warning is
backed by a new survey of more than 400 business, science, civil society
and government leaders, launching on Biodiversity Day at COP27.
The survey reveals that despite national governments being considered the
most important actors to lead the ‘Nature Agenda’, a lack of political
support, policies, and incentives are causing significant barriers to
progress in nature.
A distressing 88% of experts believe the state of the world’s nature to be
‘alarming’ or ‘catastrophic and potentially irreversible’, and only 1% view
the state of nature in the world as ‘satisfactory’.
Most experts (61%) believe there is a societal failure to account for
Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International said that “the
science has been very clear: human activities are driving accelerating
biodiversity loss which in turn is undermining our ability to limit global
warming to 1.5ºC”.
“Entire ecosystems are heading toward collapse, with devastating
consequences for people and the planet.
“COP15 is a momentous opportunity to transition the global economy to one
that works with nature, rather than against it.
“There's no more time to waste.
“Experts know it, business leaders know it, the public knows it,” he said.
Of the 400+ expert stakeholders surveyed, across the Global South and
Global North, by global insights and advisory consultancy, GlobeScan, very
few believe governments (7%) or the private sector (8%) are performing well
in protecting nature.
Both national governments and the private sector are cited as not meeting
expectations to act.
A majority of experts (55%) view government action to protect nature as
‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, with the private sector at 61%.
Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact
Research commented: “Evidence shows the potential to adapt to climate
change is not limitless and cannot substitute for ambitious mitigation. To
have a 50% chance of achieving 1.5°C and thus limiting tipping point risks,
global greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by half by 2030 and reach
net-zero by 2050.”
This concern is echoed by civil society with 64% of individuals surveyed
across 11 countries warning that the state of nature and biodiversity
across the world is ‘alarming’ or ‘catastrophic’.
Almost two-thirds (65%) of the general public regularly worry that there
will not be enough nature for future generations. Only two in 10 people
agree that ‘economic development’ is more important than protecting nature.
Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, commented: “This new data
reveals two things – first, people in every part of the world are concerned
about nature loss and two, we are not doing enough.
“We must set the world on a safer climate path, and we must act now to
reverse and halt biodiversity loss.
“From November to December of this year we have a rare moment where world
leaders will convene twice to discuss these issues and we must use them
wisely and be bold to go from promises to progress – from discourse to
The survey also found six in ten (60%) of business, NGO, government and
academic experts are at least partly optimistic about the potential for
collective efforts to protect and restore nature.
A quarter (25%) of companies were found to be engaged with Science-based
Targets for Nature, another quarter (24%) are considering this initiative,
and a third (32%) are considering the Taskforce for Nature-Related