The United Nations is to host her first ever summit on the biodiversity crisis on Wednesday, where world leaders are expected to commit to tackling unprecedented environmental degradation.
At the largely online event, over 100 heads of state and government are set to raise ambition for the development of a biodiversity framework.
The 10-year strategy to halt the destruction of natural habitats is to be adopted at the UN’s landmark COP15 biodiversity convention, taking place in China in May.
“Our task now is to deliver systemic shifts and address the drivers of biodiversity loss,’’ Inger Andersen, head of the UN Environment Programme, told a news conference.
Andersen said that includes redesigning food systems, minimising resource extraction and restoring degraded land, adding that this must begin immediately.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are among the leaders speaking at the oversubscribed event, while the U.S. is not participating.
Ahead of the summit, leaders from over 70 countries and the European Union signed a pledge to reverse losses to natural habitats by 2030.
It came after the UN published a major report earlier this month, which found that none of the 20 global biodiversity targets agreed 10 years ago have been fully met.
Environmental groups urged leaders to take action.
According to Sandra Schoettner of Greenpeace, 2020 is a year of colliding planetary emergencies.
“Environmental degradation has created the conditions for dangerous new diseases to emerge, fires to rage and the Arctic to melt.
“Governments need to put protecting our planet at the heart of a global recovery,’’ Schoettner said.