COP27 Nature Zone: Climate and environment organisations to bring nature’s voice to the heart of COP

This COP27, some of the world’s biggest civil society groups are coming together in a global effort to raise the profile of action to protect, manage and restore natural ecosystems for the benefit of the world’s peoples, the climate and biodiversity.

The Nature Conservancy, Bloomberg Philanthropies, National Geographic Society, The Climate Pledge, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich,  Restor, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, American Forests, WWF International, the World Resources Institute and the Global Evergreening Alliance have all committed resources to co-sponsor the Nature Zone, a place for nature and climate within the Blue Zone, at COP27.

International coalitions Nature4Climate (N4C), the Global Commons Alliance and the UNFCCC Climate Champions are co-convenors of the collaboration, bringing together more than80 organisations aligned in the common goal of helping countries deliver a net zero, nature positive, equitable future for all.

The Paris Agreement goals cannot be achieved without nature. And yet, because of human activities, nature is being destroyed faster than it can regenerate. We are crossing irreversible tipping points with many communities already living in crisis.

Nature positive action and high integrity nature-based solutions must not replace or delay other decarbonization efforts but, if deployed at scale, they could deliver over 11 Gt of CO2 emissions per year, roughly one-third of the mitigation needed by 2030 in order to keep our global climate goals within reach, in addition to helping local communities adapt to climate impacts.

Dario Soto-Abril, Chair of the Global Commons Alliance said: “All the emissions reductions in the world will mean nothing to future generations if the oceans remain choked in plastic, the rivers contaminated with poison and the forests continue to be cut down at an industrial scale or burned. All of us are part of nature and our future depends on it thriving. So we’re extremely excited about this collaboration and the conversations the Nature Zone will bring to the table at COP27.”

Lucy Almond, Chair, Nature4Climate said: “Nature was front and centre of many of the announcements made at COP26, backed up by funding of $20 billion from public and private sources. This year, it is critical to keep that kind of momentum going – and for governments and companies to match those pledges with on-the-ground investment and action. The Nature Zone promises to host many of those critical conversations at COP27”

A critical moment for Africa and the planet

This strategic collaboration comes at a critical moment for nature and climate action. Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released their first-ever joint report, showing that biodiversity loss and climate change are both driven by human economic activities and mutually reinforce each other. The authors made clear that neither the climate crisis nor biodiversity loss will be successfully resolved unless both are tackled together.

As the Global South takes the stage at COP 27, delivery of action to reduce countries’ and communities’ vulnerability to climate impacts, address food and land use related risks, and the vital role of Indigenous peoples and local communities for high-integrity carbon markets are ever more pressing. African countries contribute only 4 per cent to global emissions and yet they are among the most vulnerable to the climate crisis. The latest IPCC report indicates that the African continent is warming faster than the global average, which makes its countries more susceptible to devastating impacts, from extreme rainfall to drought to coastal flooding. Preserving existing ecosystems and restoring degraded lands are vital for both increasing resilience and increasing food security.

Another key moment for strategic collaboration is the UN Biodiversity Conference CBD-COP15 – the much delayed Convention on Biodiversity – in which nations will negotiate a new global framework for nature, akin to the Paris Climate Agreement which created a global foundation for action on climate.  To mark the importance of this, the Nature Zone and Nature’s Newsroom will be advocating to halt and reverse nature loss on the first ever Biodiversity Day at COP27 through a series of events and high-profile interviews.

The Nature Zone: a place for nature at COP27

An extensive Nature Zone events programme will showcase the importance of putting nature at the heart of the climate conversation. Conversations on challenges and opportunities to transform climate pledges into action across themes such as carbon markets, ending commodity-driven deforestation, sustainable approaches to land use, new advancements in technology for nature and more will be held at the Nature Zone from 6-18 November.

A key highlight of the Nature Zone pavilion is Nature’s Newsroom, a broadcast studio and editing suite, designed to provide a platform for some of the many voices wanting to speak truth to power about the importance of nature in our fight for a liveable and dignified future. We Don’t Have Time, Now This Earth and Mongabay, and Eurovision will all play a role in helping to disseminate the content being generated in the Newsroom, while Greenhouse Communications will inform and curate press content.

What our partners are saying

Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, said: “Nature is fundamental to our very existence— from the air we breathe to the food we eat. It is essential to human health and to meeting global climate goals. The Nature Zone at COP27 is a powerful platform for demonstrating the need for investing in nature-based solutions. And perhaps most importantly, it is a place to learn from the Indigenous Peoples and local communities who have sustainably stewarded their lands and waters since time immemorial.”

Antha N. Williams, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Environment Program Lead, said: “Biodiversity is the backbone of a healthy environment, which means protecting our land and ocean is critical to our sustainable future. A natural carbon sink that can absorb over 90% of our carbon emissions, the ocean is one of our most powerful tools in the fight against climate change – but recent biodiversity loss represents a major threat to the ocean’s health and its ability to regulate our environment. Bloomberg Philanthropies is proud to support the Nature Pavilion at COP27, to elevate conservation efforts already underway and call for bolder action to restore biodiversity in nature.”

Ian Miller, Chief Science and Innovation Officer, National Geographic Society said: “Protecting at least 30% of the planet by 2030 is a solution with enormous biodiversity and climate benefits. We must prioritize climate actions that support nature.”

Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO, Conservation International, said: “Our understanding of nature’s role in stabilizing climate has shifted dramatically this past year. Leaders in the public, private and NGO sectors recognize that nature is not just another climate mitigation option – it’s a non-replaceable imperative. Without nature at the centre of the upcoming COP27 negotiations, we simply cannot limit warming to 1.5°C, meet global Sustainable Development Goals or provide adequate jobs and adaptation support to the world’s most vulnerable communities, especially in the Global South. This is what makes the Nature Zone – a united voice for Earth’s vital ecosystems – so essential this November, in Egypt.” 

Emily Darling, Director of Coral Reef Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society, said: “Coral reefs and coastal communities are on the frontlines of our climate crisis. The Nature Zone collaboration at COP27 will place a spotlight on the transformative changes that are urgently needed to safeguard our planet’s most biodiverse and critical ecosystems and ensure a resilient future for humanity.”

Angela Churie Kallhauge, Executive Vice President for Impact, Environmental Defense Fund, said: “Transitioning to clean energy alone will not be enough to solve the climate crisis. We must also invest in nature. Our forests, wetlands, grasslands and oceans can absorb and store massive amounts of carbon. Plus, nature delivers other benefits to people – like economic opportunities for local communities, clean air and water, and increased biodiversity. Environmental Defense Fund is proud to join the Nature Zone at COP27 to bring attention to the urgency of investing in natural solutions before it’s too late.”

Prof. Dr. Tom Crowther, Lab Founder, Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich, said: “The climate movement has been developing real political momentum, and it is critical that we see the same urgency for biodiversity. Biodiversity is not just a tool in the fight against climate change. It is one of the reasons we want to address it in the first place.”

Clara Rowe, CEO, Restor, said: “The climate needs nature. We need nature. A growing web of projects is protecting and restoring nature and Restor is proud to bring them to the world stage through the Nature Zone collaboration.”

Dan Zarin, Executive Director of Forests and Climate Change, Wildlife Conservation Society, said: “The climate crisis is largely driven by fossil fuel emissions, hence a rapid transition away from fossil fuels remains the most important climate change solution. Nonetheless, we cannot adequately limit ongoing climate change and its impacts without protecting the biosphere’s large carbon reservoirs and extraordinary uptake of the excess CO2 that we generate. Paying for these “ecosystem services” is an essential and urgent imperative, although it remains unmet by governments and corporations alike.” 

Tom Dillon, senior vice president at The Pew Charitable Trusts, said: “To tackle the scale of the threats facing nature, climate, and people, it is critical for nations to deliver on climate ambition and action. We need solutions that address both mitigation and adaptation, while also ensuring the resources are in place to safeguard nature, build resiliency and deliver long-lasting change. Now is the time for consensus, for building bridges, and for putting nature and people first.”

Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests and co-chair of US, said: “Forests are proven climate action heroes, with a long track record of fighting back on carbon emissions, wildfire, water insecurity and biodiversity loss. While COP26 served as a historic step in recognizing the value of these nature-based solutions, we simply cannot win on climate without further investments and action. With the Nature Zone, we have a radically inclusive global coalition that is ready to deliver on forest-climate solutions at COP27.”

Craig Hanson, Managing Director for Programs, World Resources Institute, said: “Governments and companies have a critical role to play in helping us achieve net-zero emissions by midcentury. To keep the goal of the Paris Agreement alive, we need to quickly scale up nature-based solutions like Jurisdictional REDD+ and landscape restoration, improve the sustainability of agriculture, and protect the ocean in a manner that respects human rights and safeguards biodiversity.  Despite promising pledges at last year’s COP26, much work still needs to be done to convert these pledges and initiatives into real-world action that is just and inclusive. The World Resources Institute is proud to again partner with the Nature Zone at COP27 to drive climate ambition and help advance implementation of key nature-based solutions for mitigation and adaptation.”

Chris Armitage, CEO, Global EverGreening Alliance said: Last year, at COP26, we saw massive pledges and long-term commitments from stakeholders across a range of sectors. This year, at COP27, we all need to lift our game. We need to move from pledges to action, and from long-term planning to short-term milestones. To do this in a credible way and at a sufficient scale will require real collaboration and commitments across sectors and borders. As a global community, we need to accept that we’re out of time and we’re out of excuses. The time for action is now, and if we are to avert a climate catastrophe, we need to use COP27 to align our efforts, combine our strengths and mobilise our resources at a scale never before seen.”