Transcript of the Video Message by Angel Gurría
30 September 2020 - Paris, France
(as prepared for delivery)
It is my pleasure to address the Biodiversity Summit, a critical opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to stop the devastating loss of biodiversity.
We need to stem habitat loss from agriculture, logging and economic development and restore degraded ecosystems. We need to drastically reduce the pollution that is devastating our oceans, to curb the illegal wildlife trade and to stop the over-exploitation of natural resources.
In short, we need to build back better and enact a green, inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19. How do we do this?
First, by mainstreaming biodiversity. The OECD report Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Sustainable Development shows how we can do this across agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
Second, we must align policies and scale-up positive incentives. OECD analysis shows that government support that is potentially harmful to biodiversity is around USD 500 billion a year, more than five times the spending allocated to protect biodiversity, which amounts to some USD 85 billion a year globally.
Third, we need to accelerate progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Target 3 and eliminate incentives harmful to biodiversity. Our work on Tracking Economic Instruments and Finance for Biodiversity shows that progress since 2010 has been too slow. Revenue generated from biodiversity-relevant taxes, for example, is less than 1% of the total revenue from environmentally-relevant taxes, themselves a small percentage of GDP.
Protecting the planet, protecting its resources, protecting nature, protecting biodiversity, is the single, most important, inter-generational responsibility we have. We must deliver!