National Geographic Society Newsroom Press Releases

23 Former Foreign Ministers From Six Continents Issue Call to Protect 30% of the Earth’s Land and Oceans by 2030

Led by former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, high-level diplomats urge bold conservation action in lead-up to major biodiversity summit in October.

Today, 23 former foreign ministers from North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific released a statement calling for stronger conservation protections of land and oceans for the sake of the planet, as well as national security. The solution they lay out for the “deepening global environmental crisis” is “setting a global target of strongly protecting at least 30 percent of the land and 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.”   

The Campaign for Nature has issued the following response:

Enric Sala, Explorer In Residence for the National Geographic Society  

Today, 23 former foreign affairs ministers and high-level diplomats from six continents called on the world to protect at least 30% of the Earth’s land and oceans by 2030. 

In doing so, they join a growing chorus of government officials, scientists, Indigenous Peoples and business leaders recognizing that we must become better stewards of the natural world — for the sake of our health, safety and prosperity. 

We share this planet with 9 million species of plants and animals, and more than a trillion types of microbes, which we depend on for the oxygen we breathe, the clean water we drink and the food we eat.     

The natural world produces everything we need, and it does so for free. But when it breaks down, our health, economies and national security are at risk.  

With more than one million species at risk of extinction, we need bold action and we need it now. Protecting at least 30% of land and oceans by 2030 is a low-cost, immediately available and science-backed solution to the extinction crisis. 

By rallying around this goal, the 23 ministers from countries around the world give us hope that the international collaboration and bold action we need to end the biodiversity and climate crises is achievable. 

Background

  • Their statement comes in advance of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming, China (15-28 October 2020), where the final agreement is expected to be signed.  
  • At a meeting later this month (February 24-29) in Rome, negotiators from 190 countries will negotiate the details laid out in a “zero draft” of the agreement released in January. Featured in the zero draft text is a target to protect at least 30% of the planet — land and sea — by 2030.  
  • Signers of the statement include: Madeleine K. Albright (US), Joschka Fischer (Germany), Amre Moussa (Egypt), Lloyd Axworthy (Canada), Jaime Gama (Portugal), Marwan Muasher (Jordan), Mohamed Benaissa (Morocco), Ibrahim Gambari (Nigeria), George Papandreou (Greece), Maria Eugenia Brizuela de Avila (El Salvador), Marina Kaljurand (Estonia), Malcolm Rifkind (UK), Erik Derycke (Belgium), Tzipi Livni (Israel), Claudia Ruiz Massieu (Mexico), Lamberto Dini (Italy), Susana Malcorra (Argentina), Javier Solana (Spain), Alexander Downer (Australia), Donald McKinnon (New Zealand), Knut Vollebæk (Norway), Jan Eliasson (Sweden), Daniel Mitov (Bulgaria)

Available for interviews:

For Campaign for Nature interview requests and quotes, please contact: 

Kirsten Weymouth
National Geographic Society
kweymouth@ngs.org
+1 703.928.4995 

Greg Zimmerman
Wyss Campaign for Nature
greg@wysscampaign.org
+ 1 847.848.2881

 The Campaign for Nature is a global effort to raise awareness of the threats facing our natural world and inspire world leaders to take action to protect it. Launched in October 2018, the Wyss Campaign for Nature, the National Geographic Society and a growing coalition of conservation advocates are calling on policymakers to commit to clear and ambitious targets at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Conference of the Parties in October 2020 to protect at least 30 percent of the planet by 2030.

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