National Geographic Society Scientists Call for an Ambitious Global Deal for Nature

National Geographic Society Chief Scientist Dr. Jonathan Baillie and Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala are among the authors of a new scientific paper that outlines a Global Deal for Nature—a time-bound, science-driven plan to protect the planet’s land, ocean, and help to solve the climate crisis.

In order to prevent catastrophic changes to our world, the paper recommends the protection of 30 percent of the Earth by 2030—an ambitious but achievable goal that will rely on conserving areas with significant biodiversity and engaging in meaningful collaboration with local and indigenous communities. The paper also underlines the need to maintain another 20 percent of the planet in climate stabilization areas, or areas that remain in a natural state.

The paper comes at a critical time, as world leaders work to adopt new conservation targets at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2020. This treaty was originally agreed to at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and updated in 2010. Now governments must develop a new global plan to protect nature with targets that extend out to 2030 and beyond.

“The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Beijing in 2020 will help encourage the world’s leaders to advance climate targets and the Sustainable Development Goals by agreeing to adopt new global targets for biodiversity conservation,” said Jonathan Baillie, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist, National Geographic Society. “We know that none of these targets can be achieved without securing half of the planet in a natural state. To achieve this ambitious goal, global leaders must agree to an interim target to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030.”

Enric Sala, Explorer-in-Residence and Executive Director of the Last Wild Places program commented: “The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, are all dependent on other forms of life. We need to give them more space so that the natural world can continue providing for us.”

In order to achieve our ultimate goal—a planet in balance—and make the Global Deal for Nature a reality, the National Geographic Society has partnered with the Wyss Foundation on a Campaign for Nature, to harness science, exploration, storytelling, and our power to convene thought leaders from around the globe to inspire the action needed to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030.

Over the next 18 months, the National Geographic Society will continue to shine a light on the threats facing our planet, support actionable science and exploration to better understand global impacts, and inspire people and leaders around the globe to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

Read the paper and learn more about how we’re working to protect the Last Wild Places on our planet.

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