There is no more time to waste to stop twin crises of nature’s destruction and climate change

Press release, 6 May 2019
In response to the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IIED director Andrew Norton said:

“The IPBES report on the global state of biodiversity is shocking but not entirely surprising. The question is, how much more evidence and repeated warnings will it take for governments, companies and financial institutions to wake up to the urgency and act?

“The accelerating destruction of nature and climate change are the twin emergencies threatening humanity today. There is no more time for inaction or delay – the report’s findings are loud and clear.

“Radical, comprehensive changes are urgently needed to save the diversity of life on which we all depend. Crucially, governments must end the destructive subsidies, including for fossil fuels and industrial fishing and agriculture. These drive the plundering of the land and ocean at the expense of a clean, healthy and diverse environment on which billions of women, children and men depend now and in the future.

“It is important the report highlights indigenous peoples and local communities’ key role. Biodiversity is declining more slowly in their areas, but it is still declining, with land under increasing pressure from extractive industries, infrastructure development and agriculture. It is imperative that greater attention is given to strengthening indigenous and local communities’ rights to manage their land and resources sustainably and to resist external development pressure unless it is in their own interests. They must be able to play an active part in all efforts to conserve biodiversity, while their right to use nature is protected.

“People living in poverty are being disproportionately hit, from rural women in poor countries who have the responsibility to gather wood for fuel, to people in informal settlements who are becoming more vulnerable to storm damage due to the loss of such natural barriers as mangroves. Poverty goes hand-in-hand with precarious lives that are extremely vulnerable to ecological collapse.  It is crucial the progress that has been made in development is not undone by the interconnected crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. 

“The contribution that diverse nature and natural ecological systems make to development – for both rich and poor – needs to be included in the economic decisions made by governments and business. Without this, development and life in general cannot be sustainable.”

Media enquiries

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Beth Herzfeld, IIED head of media, on +44 (0)7557 658 482 or email beth.herzfeld@iied.org

Notes to editors

  • For more information on biodiversity and development, see IIED’s ‘Biodiversity loss is a development issue. A rapid review of the evidence
  • IIED is a policy and action research organisation. It promotes sustainable development to improve livelihoods and protect the environments on which these livelihoods are built. IIED specialises in linking local priorities to global challenges. Based in London, UK it works in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific, with some of the world's most vulnerable people to strengthen their voice in the decision-making arenas that affect them – from village councils to international conventions.
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