Conservation International Statement on Postponed Global Conservation Events

April 3, 2020

Arlington, Va. (April 03, 2020) – Conservation International’s Senior Vice President for Global Policy and Government Affairs James Roth released the following statement after the postponement of several global conservation conventions originally set to take place later this year.

“In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic COP26, the annual United Nations Convention on Climate; the IUCN World Conservation Congress; COP15, the bi-yearly negotiation of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity; and the negotiations for a new high seas treaty have all been postponed. Collectively these events were meant to highlight 2020 as the “Super Year for Nature,” bringing conservation leaders from around the world together to continue important discussions on climate change, biodiversity and livelihoods.  

Work to deliver on our shared goals for the planet is now much harder. While stakeholders have accelerated engagement electronically and over the telephone, it is difficult to match the pace of progress achieved through in-person negotiations.  Hence, conference postponements and delayed timelines have called into question the extent to which the progress we anticipated can be made this year on time-sensitive and urgent issues. The health and economic consequences of the current crisis will be severe and while addressing them should remain top priority we cannot lower our ambition on environmental action across the board or we risk other large, expensive problems later.

This year countries were meant to make a number of decisions to address the current planetary crises, including updating and replacing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and moving forward negotiations on the global carbon market, with the ultimate goal of slowing global warming and protecting ecosystems, on land and sea within the next decade. While advancing each of these priorities can still be done this year, the postponement of direct, face-to-face multilateral negotiations greatly reduces the likelihood of reaching our planned aspirations.

There is opportunity to strengthen resolve for implementing the level of transformational change needed to ensure the long-term sustainable management of Earth for the wellbeing of people.

The pandemic has created an unprecedented crisis for all of us and it serves as a stark reminder how connected we are to nature and to each other. We look forward to the day we can join together again, in person, to address the challenges facing our planet and thank those working to ensure these critical gatherings still take place.”

About Conservation International

Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature.  We work in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International's work on Conservation NewsFacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube.