Lea Wermelin: “Nature is in crisis”

17.09.20 | News
Danmarks miljöminister
Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix
Biodiversity must be at the very top of the national and Nordic political agendas say Nordic politicians and young activists, in response to the new UN report, Global Biodiversity Outlook. The report shows that not a single one of the 20 goals in the global biodiversity strategy for 2011–2020 has been reached.

According to Global Biodiversity Outlook, species decline is more rapid than ever. This can have devastating consequences, not only for the delicate balance between ecosystems but also in relation to the natural resources on which human survival depends.

When it comes to safeguarding biodiversity, humankind is at a crossroads, according to a new UN report published on Tuesday.  

Clear for all to see

“For many years, far too little has been done to take better care of nature, both at home and internationally. If anyone is in any doubt that nature is in a state of crisis, it is stated very clearly for all to see in the new UN report. It is not good enough that we, as a world community, are so far from the goals we set together,” says Lea Wermelin, Minister of the Environment in Denmark and chair of the Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment and Climate (MR-MK).

In the Nordic Region, as in the rest of the world, the biodiversity crisis has long been overshadowed by the climate debate. It is now receiving more and more attention, especially from the younger generations.

Youth Ambassadors for Biodiversity

“Young people take the biodiversity crisis just as seriously as the climate crisis. It’s our future that’s at stake. We don’t want a world lacking in wild flora, fauna and nature. We fear what the loss of biodiversity could mean for the world’s ecosystems. We demand action now before it’s too late,” says Emma Susanna Turkki, who is active in the Youth Ambassadors for Biodiversity and the Nordic Youth Advisory Group on Biodiversity.

Biodiversity must not be overshadowed

The Nordic Council of Ministers recently decided to do more for biodiversity and the sustainable use of Nordic nature and seas. It also called on the Nordic countries to work together to encourage international negotiations to come up with ambitious new rules for biodiversity.

“It is my very clear aim that in 2021 we will draw up an ambitious agreement for nature and biodiversity over the next decade – a Paris Agreement for nature. This will involve world leaders shaking hands on a deal to halt the decline in biodiversity and preserve habitats,” says Wermelin.

Nordic co-operation has also resulted in an initiative aimed at giving young people a voice in the negotiations for the new biodiversity goals for 2030. 

Solve challenges together

Kolbeinn Óttarsson Proppé, the Nordic Council’s spokesperson for biodiversity, also stresses that the Nordic Region should encourage far greater ambitions for the new UN biodiversity strategy, which is to be negotiated in China in 2021. 

“Biodiversity has been overshadowed by climate change, but what matters is that we work together to solve these two major challenges. For that to happen, we must involve both civil society and our young people in the negotiations,” says Proppé, an Icelandic MP and member of the Nordic Council’s Committee for a Sustainable Nordic Region.    

Young people expect real commitments

Gustaf Zachrisson from Sweden and other young people from across the Nordic Region have started to draw up concrete recommendations for the process of negotiating a new global biodiversity agreement for 2030.

“How many reports will it take before we start to see some action? We already know enough to respond to the biodiversity crisis. Young people expect to see real commitments, at local and global levels, that have an effect here and now. It is crucial that the biodiversity crisis is accorded top priority,” Zachrisson says.