Nepal part of UN campaign to reverse nature loss

Nepal’s Prime Minister K P Oli and heads of state and governments from over 64 countries have committed to reverse nature loss by the end of the decade to fulfil the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Countries endorsing the pledge represent more than 1.3 billion people and more than a quarter of global GDP, and comes after the World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report 2020 released earlier this month.

That report revealed that there has been a two-thirds decline in the global populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish in the past 50 years.

Nepal has been praised internationally as a model for nature conservation, and its ability to manage people and parks relatively well despite problems of poverty, population growth and pressure on land.

But despite past achievements, experts say Nepal cannot afford to be complacent and the government commitment will renew conservation efforts, especially to curb recent surge in wildlife poaching during of Covid-19 lockdown.

Six musk deer were found killed in traps in Sagarmatha National Park in April. There was a seizure of tiger and leopard pelts as well as bones this week in western Nepal from poachers who were taking them to China.

Earlier this month in Chitwan National park, a dead rhino was found with a bullet hole in its head, and a tiger was found dead in Bardia on Saturday. Nepal had marked its fourth year with zero rhino poaching recently.

Announced just few days ahead of the UN Summit on Biodiversity, The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature: United to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for Sustainable Development will send a united signal that the world must step up ambition to halt and reverse nature loss for the benefit of people and nature and to help tackle climate change.

“Pandemics, wildfires, wildlife decline and climate change are all symptoms of our dangerously unbalanced relationship with the natural world. We can’t ignore it any longer, and we must act decisively,” says Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF-International.

Conservationists said the pledge at last demonstrated leadership from the highest political level of governments for protecting the planet’s biodiversity from the effects of the climate crisis and destructive land management by countries.

In the past year, a series of major reports have focused global attention on the biodiversity crisis, with nature currently declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history.

This is causing irreversible harm to our life support systems, aggravating poverty and inequalities, increasing risk of future zoonotic pandemics and contributing significantly to climate change.

Key commitments in the pledge include:

  1. The development and full implementation of an ambitious and transformational post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted in Kunming, China, next year;
  1. Transitioning to sustainable patterns of production and consumption and sustainable food systems that meet people’s needs while remaining within planetary boundaries. Including by switching to deforestation-free regenerative agriculture;
  1. Reducing pollution on land and in the air, including eliminating ocean plastic waste;
  1. Sustainably managing our ocean and conclude the negotiations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea;
  1. A green and just response to the current health and economic crisis, integrating a One Health* approach and putting biodiversity, climate and the environment as a whole at the heart of recovery strategies, investments and decisions and actions across the whole of government;
  1. Investing more money in biodiversity and nature-based solutions and also committing to eliminating or repurposing harmful investments and subsidies and aligning financial flows to environmental commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals to achieve the wellbeing of people and safeguard the planet.

In conservation, Nepal is not out of the woods yet, Sonia Awale

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