Members of the media,
This is a “moment for nature” that has been some time in the making. Allow me to begin by expressing my deep gratitude to Minister of Ecology and Environment, Huang Runqiu, and through you to the government and people of China, for your leadership as president of this COP. This has been a long and complex journey, and the steadfast determination of the Chinese Presidency has brought us here – to what the Secretary-General called yesterday – the beginnings of a “peace pact with nature”. And my deep thanks to Minister Steven Guilbeault of Canada, which hosts the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity – Minister, the city of Montreal has welcomed us with open arms – and I am truly grateful.
And of course, I would be remiss in not recognizing the outstanding leadership of Executive Secretary of the CBD Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, her able Deputy David Cooper, and her terrific team. Elizabeth and team CBD – you have travelled this journey with the Presidency and Host with an unrelenting determination to demonstrate that multilateralism for nature is critical to tackling the challenges that humanity faces. They have my deep gratitude. And I pay tribute to delegates, indigenous groups, and civil society groups, private sector to push for a truly transformational deal for people and the planet.
The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is critical because in providing a package deal – we are acknowledging that protecting the natural world represents a sum of many efforts – by government, by businesses, and by us – as individuals and consumers. The new GBF is remarkable because we know our means of implementation must be stronger, and that this includes more financing on the table, especially for developing countries. The new GBF is different because we know that we need to have the ability to do better in ensuring a fair and equitable share of the benefits we derive from genetic resources.
But we also know the Framework is not so much about words. It is about the actions that drive the transformation we need in the relationship between people and nature. And here I will be honest- time is not on our side. We have backed nature into a corner, and it is time to ease the pressure. One million species nearing extinction. Ten football pitches lost a minute. Three billion people impacted by land degradation. Indigenous people under threat everywhere. I could go on about the litany of bad news we face. But we also know that nature is very forgiving. If we give nature a chance, it will bounce back. And when we give nature a chance, we give human health a chance. We give peace and prosperity a chance. We give people everywhere a chance. So let us pause for but one second to embrace the history we have made in Montreal – and now let us get down to the business of delivering the Framework – for people and for planet.