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Take urgent action against bio-diversity loss – WWF

SUN REPORTER writes
@SunZambian
THE continued rapid decline in nature is becoming a big threat to societal and environmental stability of the planet, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Country Director Nachilala Nkombo has said.
With the releases of the 2020 Living Planet Report the WWF has expressed deep concern at the continued rapid decline in nature globally, with potential to push into complete extinction over a million plant and animal species.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of the relationship between people and nature.
WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini notes: “At a time when the world is reeling from the deepest global disruption and health crisis of a lifetime, this year’s Living Planet Report provides unequivocal and alarming evidence that nature is unravelling and that our planet is flashing red warning signs of vital natural systems failure. The Living Planet Report 2020 clearly outlines how humanity’s increasing destruction of nature is having catastrophic impacts not only on wildlife populations but also on human health and all aspects of our lives.”
The WWF boss said COVID-19 is a clear manifestation of our broken relationship with nature. It has highlighted the deep interconnection between nature, human health and well-being, and how unprecedented biodiversity loss threatens the health of both people and the planet.
“It’s time for the world to agree a New Deal for Nature and People, committing to stop and reverse the loss of nature by the end of this decade and build a carbon-neutral and nature-positive economy and society,” Lambertini adds.
“This is our best safeguard for human health and livelihoods in the long term, and to ensure a safe future for our children and children’s children.”
WWF estimate the value of ‘natural capital’ – the planet’s stock of renewable and non-renewable natural resources, like plants, soils and minerals – alongside values of produced and human capital – for example, roads and skills – which together form a measure of a country’s true wealth. Data from the United Nations Environment Programme shows that, per person, our global stock of natural capital has declined by nearly 40% since the early 1990s, while produced capital has doubled and human capital has increased by 13%.
Ms Nkombo said that the impact of climate crisis, nature loss and global health pandemics could lead many vulnerable communities and national economies to their knees.
“The combined impacts of these crises could lead many vulnerable communities and national economies to their knees. WWF believes that the rapid decline of nature can be halted by ending the destruction of natural habitats and reforming our food systems,” she said.
The WWF Zambia director has said the 2020 Living Planet Report indicated that the environmental destruction through increasing and rapid deforestation, unsustainable agriculture and illegal wildlife trade are key drivers of the continued decline to nature being practiced in various communities and nations.
The biodiversity advocate notes that continued loss of biodiversity will undermine the achievement of most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including poverty alleviation and food, water and energy security, and will become a matter of national stability and security if not placed on top of the country’s political and economic agenda.
“As the Republican President Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu makes his keynote address at the upcoming biodiversity summit at UNGA 75 this year, Zambia must take a lead in addressing this planetary emergency by calling for urgent and bold commitments from other world leaders for strong action to protect biodiversity and stop the loss of habitat,” she said.
She adds that the 8th National Development Plan should employ measures to ensure sustainable use and exploitation of resources across the country and in all sectors, for its goals and successor development plans to be secured.
“World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Zambia is pleased to join the global WWF network in launching the 2020 Living Planet Report (LPR). The LPR is a comprehensive WWF flagship study of the ‘state of the planet’s global biodiversity and health produced by 134 authors from 25 countries around the world every 2 years,” Ms Nkombo said.
“In LPR 2020, WWF remains deeply concerned at the continued rapid decline in nature globally, with potential to push into complete extinction over a million plant and animal species. This situation is becoming a big threat to societal and environmental stability of our planet. Our launch of the Living Planet Report today places environmental destruction at the center of the world’s most challenging crises – the climate crisis, nature loss and global health pandemics.”
Ms Nkomba said Zambia must show strong political leadership in calling for accountability for the world’s biological resources and pushing for higher global ambitions to prevent over exploitation, unsustainable use and the lack of a clear financing mechanism to support protection of these global economic resources at the upcoming Biodiversity Summit.
The United Nations Summit on Biodiversity will be convened by the President of the General Assembly on 30 September 2020, at the level of Heads of State and Government under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”
WWF Zambia was established in 1962 to support conservation of natural resources in Zambia. Since 1962 WWF, formerly World Wildlife Fund Zambia has been involved in various conservation activities to conserve Zambia’s biodiversity upon which the nation’s economy and livelihoods largely depend.

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