ISLAMABAD    -  Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam  said that Pakistan would support the global leaders’ pledge at the UN’s maiden Summit for Biodiversity 2020 for action to stem biodiversity loss as part of “meaningful action” to halt the destruction of nature on earth.

To restore the balance with nature, governments and the European Union have rolled out a 10-point pledge at the major UN biodiversity summit, which opened virtually from New York today to counteract the damage to ecosystems systems that underpin human health and wellbeing, said a press release.

The speaking slots at this week’s Summit are oversubscribed, with more than 116 heads of states and governments seeking to address the unprecedented global event.

The Summit on Biodiversity 2020 has been convened by the President of the General Assembly, at the level of Heads of State and Government under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will co-chair ‘TODAY LATE NIGHT’ a high-level joint session ‘Leaders’ Dialogue’ today through a video link at the Summit and call for a heightened global action to halt biodiversity loss for the sustainability of the planet earth and its inhabitants.

Described as a “turning point” by which future generations will judge their willingness to act on environmental destruction, the pledge includes a renewed effort to reduce deforestation, halt unsustainable fishing practices, eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies and begin the transition to sustainable food production systems and a circular economy over the next decade.

Malik Amin Aslam said  “The PM will also highlight that the world must act unitedly right now. We have no chance to dither and delay, for biodiversity loss is happening today and it is happening at a much faster pace or face the catastrophic consequences for us all.”

The prime minister’s special assistant Malik Amin Aslam said that while the United Nations first ever Summit for Biodiversity has begun today in New York, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Jacinda Ardern and Boris Johnson are among 64 leaders from five continents, would warn during their keynote speeches that humanity is in a state of planetary emergency due to the climate crisis and the rampant destruction of life-sustaining ecosystems.

He said that the Summit, in fact, aims to highlight the crisis facing humanity from the paced degradation of biodiversity and the urgent need to accelerate action on biodiversity loss for overall sustainable development. 

It also is geared towards providing an opportunity for Heads of State and Government from all five continents and other leaders to raise ambition for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021.

This framework, and its effective implementation, must put nature on a path to recovery by 2030 to meet the SDGs and realize the Vision of “Living in harmony with nature”, Malik Amin added.

The Prime Minister’s aide Malik Amin Aslam highlighted, “Our societies are closely linked with and reliant on biodiversity, which is essential for people, including through its provision of nutritious food, clean water, medicines, and protection from extreme events.”

However, biodiversity loss and the degradation of its contributions over the last several years to people are now posing risk to the global efforts aimed at tackling climate change risks and achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and overall human wellbeing, he remarked.

For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic has further underlined the unprecedented importance of the relationship between people and nature, Malik Amin Aslam pointed out.

He said, “We are reminded with emergence of such pandemic that when we degrade biodiversity, we only. undermine the web of life and exacerbate the risk of breakout of diseases with more frequency and intensity from wildlife to humans,”

“Yet, responses to the pandemic provide a unique opportunity for transformative change as a global community. An investment in the health of our planet and conservation as well as preservation of biodiversity is in fact an investment in our own future,” the PM’s aide Malik Amin Aslam remarked.

Quoting from a recent assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), he said that species extinction rates were tens to hundreds of times higher now than historical averages. This acceleration is causing irreversible harm to our life support systems and aggravating poverty and inequalities as well as hunger and malnutrition, he added

“However, the Summit for Biodiversity has come as a unique opportunity for the global leaders to demonstrate leadership and commitment to improve the human’s relationship with nature, addressing the causes of change and ensuring that biodiversity and the contributions it provides to all people are at the heart of sustainable development and the global climate action,” Malik Amin urged.