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Boost action and diplomacy to protect nature, Committee tell government

26 July 2021

Today the Environment and Climate Change Committee have published a letter to Environment Secretary George Eustice setting out what they believe the Government should do to make COP15 – the United Nations Biodiversity Conference due to be hosted by China in October - a success and to combat the loss of biodiversity.

This follows a series of sessions held by the Committee on COP15 with experts, representatives of civil society and business, a Chinese Minister, and Ministers from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Committee's letter

The Committee have written that there is a gulf between the urgency and importance of halting biodiversity losses and restoring nature, and the level of action being taken in pursuit of this.

They go on to say that there is much more that the Government can and must do to address biodiversity losses through its work towards an ambitious COP15 agreement, as well as pursuing solutions via other international channels.

Recommendations for a successful COP15 and how to combat the loss of biodiversity include:

  • Continue promoting ambitious targets to be included in the COP15 framework, alongside strong mechanisms for implementation and for monitoring countries’ progress towards the targets;
  • Step up diplomatic efforts on key sticking points ahead of COP15 including funding for biodiversity action;
  • Seek to ensure the COP15 framework provides a clear role for businesses, and support the timely development of clear, consistent and robust requirements for businesses to report on their biodiversity impacts.
  • Enhance coordination between COP15 and COP26 (the climate change conference that the UK will host later this year) whilst working to improve relations with China in support of this;
  • Include an ambitious, overarching ‘state of nature’ target in the Environment Bill;
  • Re-establish trust with developing countries, recognising that cuts to foreign aid and the failure to ensure global access to COVID-19 vaccines have damaged that trust;
  • Fight for action on biodiversity at the World Trade Organization (WTO);
  • Make protecting and restoring biodiversity a central consideration when negotiating new trade deals; and
  • Develop the right machinery of government to deliver on what is agreed at COP15: departments from across government – from FCDO and DIT to MHCLG – will need to be far better aligned and more involved.

The Committee have asked the Environment Secretary for a response to their recommendations by 1 September, ahead of COP15.

Further information