Ladies and Gentlemen,
Humanity, our wellbeing and existence has been challenged severely during the last nine months by a small fraction of biological diversity, a virus. At the same time our existence is entirely dependent on biodiversity. Our food and most of our medicine, clothes, shelter and other essential ecosystem services, originate from biodiversity.
It is essential for life on Earth to maintain and protect the diversity of living organisms and the structure and function of our ecosystems.
The Biodiversity Convention and the 196 Member states stand at a crossroads at the moment. The implementation of current strategy is ending, and has just been valued globally by the fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook.
Conserving and restoring biodiversity is a crucial factor in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important in mitigation of climate change and successful adaptation to its impacts. The unprecedented system-scale environmental change taking place in the Arctic and other sensitive areas globally, for example, requires immediate action.
Habitat protection, invasive alien species and restoration of degraded forests, wetlands and other important ecosystems, should be high on our agenda – as well as synergies with other environmental problems. Such synergetic approaches have been emphasized by the Icelandic government through our new Climate Action Plan. One of its pillars is restoration of woodlands and wetlands, using nature-based solutions in combating desertification and climate change at the same time as regaining biodiversity.
The Icelandic government is committed to nature conservation and now prepares the establishment of a large national park in the central highland of the country, vast wilderness area covering approximately 30% of the total area of Iceland that will by far be the largest national park in Europe and Iceland’s largest contribution to nature conservation so far.
Ladies and gentlemen
Scientific findings and facts about the decline of biodiversity, climate change, habitat destruction and deterioration must be our guiding light. We need a long-term global ambition and commitment to make drastic and transformative change and to take actions in order to succeed, for nature, climate and people.