"Without nature, we have nothing." That's the message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres who has opened the biodiversity summit COP15.
Scientists, rights advocates, and delegates from nearly 200 countries are gathering in Canada this week to tackle one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues: the loss of biodiversity and what can be done to reverse it.
Guterres says science has already shown us enough reason to come together and fight climate change. He says "humanity's war on nature is ultimately a war on ourselves".
"We need governments to develop ambitious national action plans that protect and preserve our natural gifts and put our planet on the path to healing," explained Guterres. "We need businesses and investors to put protection first in their business plans and invest in sustainable production and extraction methods across every link of their supply chains. And we need a dramatic step up in climate action".
The European Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevičius backed the message, calling for a global agreement.
"We need a deal. But it has to be ambitious. So it has to have a 30 by 30 goal, which I think can be equal to 1.5 degrees, or the Paris initiative where we have agreed on the protection of 30% of land territories and 30% of marine territories," said Sinkevičius. "That's not going to be enough. Secondly, of course, we need to ensure at least 20% of nature restoration efforts to be deployed by the year 2030 and by the year 2040".
The first day of COP15 in Montreal got off to a rocky start after Indigenous and environmental activists disrupted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's opening speech.
The banner read: “to save biodiversity, stop invading our lands.”