One Nordic voice in UN negotiations on biodiversity

18.05.22 | News
Andrej Ivanov/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix
The biodiversity crisis must be resolved by way of a global agreement with measurable goals and clear requirements for implementation. That’s the joint message to the UN from the Nordic ministers for climate and the environment. They promise to increase their own efforts for biodiversity in the Nordic Region.

Although biodiversity is in dramatic decline, both in the Nordic Region and around the globe, this is eclipsed by the climate crisis. Few people know that a new global UN agreement on biodiversity is about to be finalised. The aim is for nature to get its own “Paris Agreement” at a meeting in Kunming in China later this year. 

Nordic Region can pile on the pressure

“The Nordic countries are playing a key role in several international negotiations in the field of the environment and climate. Therefore, it’s hugely positive that we can act together and raise the bar when it comes to our ambitions,” says Annika Strandhäll, Sweden’s Minister for Climate and the Environment. 

When she and the other Nordic ministers met in Oslo on 3 May, they agreed both a joint Nordic political message for the UN’s final negotiations as well as the basis for handling the crisis at home.

Time for measurable goals

Among other things, the ministers write that “radical change” is needed to reverse the loss of biodiversity, and that the new global agreement must have measurable goals that promote urgent action in all countries. WWF Denmark has long called for a Nordic alliance in the negotiations and welcomes the ministerial declaration. 

30 percent of nature must be protected

“It’s positive that the Nordic environment ministers have high ambitions when it comes to the new global biodiversity agreement. They support the central goals that 30 percent of nature should be protected by 2030, but when it comes to reducing our global footprints, I see lack of concrete goals,” says Thor Hjarsen, Lead Conservation Specialist for Biodiversity, WWF Denmark. 

Rich countries should pay more

Hjartsen points out that it will also be crucial that rich countries, such as the Nordic countries, take greater responsibility in financing the agreement.  At home, the ministers want to rapidly update national biodiversity action plans in line with the new global agreement. They also write that they want the full participation of indigenous peoples, local communities and young people once the agreement comes to fruition in the Nordic Region.

19 demands by Nordic young people

This has also been a requirement of the Nordic youth network NYBN (Nordic Youth Biodiversity Network) which, with the support of 2,500 young people from the Nordic Region, has come up with 19 demands for the new global agreement. Several of the young people’s demands are also reflected in the environment ministers’ declaration.

“Support global South!”    

“It’s encouraging that the ministers want young people, indigenous peoples and local communities to be involved in implementing the new agreement on biodiversity. We wish that they had also stepped in to prioritise education on biodiversity in the Nordic Region and to support the global South to a greater extent than today,” says Annika Lepistö of the Nordic Youth Biodiversity Network.

More Nordic resources to raise awareness of the biodiversity crisis