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International leaders gather in London for COP15 nature protection and restoration event

COP15

The UK government is today welcoming a number of leaders from across the world for an event which will look to support the UN’s Nature COP15 agreement. As well as international leaders, key business and philanthropy figures will also be in attendance.

The event, which is called Nature Action: Private Sector Mobilisation, will help push forward the deal that was agreed upon by almost 200 countries at COP15 in Montreal last December. Part of the agreement was that countries would have to reverse biodiversity loss and protect 30% of the world’s land and ocean by 2030.

The UK government have wasted no time in putting plans in place to reach these targets, as documented through their Environmental Improvement Plan which was published last month. As such, it makes sense that they are the ones to host this particular event.

The event will look at how private finance can be used to push forward plans to tackle nature loss and restore threatened habitats such as rainforests and grasslands. As per the agreement signed in December, all of the countries involved are looking at mobilising $200 billion per year between them by 2030, with 10% of that being used to help developing countries.

Those in attendance include the French Minister for Ecological Transition, Christophe Bechu and the American Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Monica Medina. Representatives from the likes of HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group will also be present.

Following the completion of the event, King Charles will welcome the international guests to Buckingham Palace for an informal reception.

Four roundtable discussions

The event will feature four separate roundtable discussions where those in attendance will be able to share ideas with each other on how they can best achieve the targets set out at COP15. The roundtable discussions will focus on the following topics:

  1. Nature Finance Packages: Attendees will discuss how new and scaled-up approaches can attract private investors. The focus will mainly be on how private investment can help protect forests as they are critical when it comes to regulating the world’s climate, as well as being a source of food and water for billions of people across the planet.
  2. Payment for Ecosystem Services: Attendees will look at how they can generate private sector capital streams to invest in “public goods”. This covers things like clean water, habitat restoration and flood risk reduction schemes.
  3. Use of genetic information from plants and animals: Attendees will explore how digital mapping of DNA and/or RNA genomes can benefit the environment.
  4. Sustainable Food Systems: Attendees will look at how they can increase investment in sustainable agriculture programmes. The UK’s Environmental Land Management schemes will be the focal point of this session.

While the four roundtable discussions will be the central focus of the event, those in attendance will also hear about how some current privately financed projects are already working wonders across the world.

The UK is leading the way

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has come under fire over the past six months in relation to his perceived disinterest towards environmental issues. However, he has come out today and said that he believes the UK are “leading the way in driving action to halt and reverse the decline of nature around the world”. He added:

“Protecting our planet’s precious habitats is a global endeavour. We must keep up the momentum on the progress made so far, and it is by working together across the international community that will identify and deliver the solutions needed to safeguard our environment for our children, grandchildren and generations beyond.”

Meanwhile, the Environment Secretary Dr Therese Coffey has spoken about how proud she is to be hosting this particular event. She said:

“We are proud to have been part of the successful efforts to adopt an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework in Montreal last year and its effective implementation will be crucial for the future of our planet and for every generation to come.

I’m pleased to be bringing together Ministers from around the world, business leaders, financiers and indigenous leaders to identify the solutions – both financial and structural – that will enable global action to protect nature and reverse biodiversity loss.”

View our interview with Julie James, Welsh Minister for Climate Change as we discuss biodiversity

Final thought: COP15 or Cop-out?

In 2021, the UK was the proud host of COP26, signalling that it was serious about trying to halt and reverse climate change. Fast forward to 2022 and Rishi Sunak was initially planning on avoiding COP27 altogether which suggested to many that the UK’s latest Prime Minister had other priorities.

It feels as if we now have come full circle once again with Sunak’s government now playing host to this event – a direct follow-up to the UN’s Nature COP15 agreement. Everyone involved will be hoping that the event leads to fruitful discussions and some concrete plans being put in place to reverse biodiversity loss across the world.

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