CBA14 closing: UK minister urges countries to allocate more finance to nature-based solutions to help tackle climate change

UK international environment minister Zac Goldsmith says there is no pathway to net zero emissions without a major effort to protect and restore nature.

News, 25 September 2020

The Rt. Hon. Zac Goldsmith, UK Minister for Pacific and the Environment, delivered the closing address at the final plenary of the 14th International Conference on Community-based Adaptation (CBA14) today.

Speaking via a video recording, Goldsmith said the UK was urging governments to ‘step up’ on finance for nature-based solutions (NbS). 

He said: “We know that nature-based solutions could provide around a third of the most cost-effective climate change mitigation that we need by 2030, while also helping to reverse biodiversity loss and help people adapt to the changes that are happening. 

“The fact that they attract just 3% of global climate investment makes absolutely no sense at all so we're urging governments to step up. 

“Last year, our own prime minister committed to doubling our international climate finance and to allocating a large proportion of it to nature-based solutions, and we're asking other countries to do similar."

The UK will next year host the COP26 United Nations climate talks. Goldsmith said the UK would be asking governments for ambitious commitments on mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

He said: “As COP26 presidents, we're asking governments to make sure that the Nationally Determined Contributions that they bring to Glasgow next year are genuinely ambitious on mitigation, and on adaptation and resilience."

Amplifying voices

CBA14, taking place online, has linked together more than 500 people from more than 70 countries for discussion about locally-led adaptation to climate change.

International environment minister Goldsmith said the UK would highlight direct experience of climate solutions at the talks. He said: “Your [the CBA community] expertise is central because it's based on a direct experience of what works. 

“As COP26 presidents we want to amplify your voices so that your experience can inform, inspire and stimulate effective adaptation and resilience at scale."

COVID-19 a wake-up call on nature

Goldsmith said it was ‘more than likely’ that the COVID-19 pandemic was the result of humans’ mistreatment and mismanagement of nature. He said: "But the science is clear that if we continue to mistreat and abuse the natural world, the consequences will be far worse.

“And so we should certainly view it as a wake-up call, and we know that even if we manage to get to grips with cutting our carbon emissions, disruptive change is inevitable.”

Goldsmith said plans by governments worldwide to spend trillions of dollars to boost economic recovery from the pandemic were an opportunity. He said: “Today, governments everywhere are mapping out their plans for economic recovery from the pandemic and trillions of dollars have been identified for the task - and that means that we have an opportunity. 

“If we choose wisely we can deploy those funds in a way that helps us transition to a cleaner, more efficient system. One where we're able to live within nature's means. And we can build on the vital adaptation work that you are all doing.”