Our shared responsibility

Below is the introduction to our latest newsletter. To read newsletters in full, sign up now or subscribe on Linkedin.

Dear Planetary Steward, Dear friend of the Global Commons Alliance,

This week UN meetings are underway in Nairobi to advance the Biodiversity Plan. While collaboration at this international level is key to ensuring a safe and just future for all, it can’t keep momentum going in the right direction on its own. Lacklustre outcomes from the recent UN plastics meeting in Ottawa highlight the limitations of international framework processes when outgoing systems and industries still hold power.

The cost of plastic on the environment, health and economies can be as much as  10 times higher for low-income countries, even though they consume three times less than high-income ones. And last week a new report highlighted the severe impacts of plastics and petrochemicals on Arctic Indigenous communities. The Arctic is a “hemispheric sink” where plastics and petrochemicals from around the world end up, leaving Indigenous communities to bear the brunt of our plastic problem.

Last week the G7 Ministers’ meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment took place in Italy. The Official Declaration communique includes five references to ‘nature positive’, showing that Ministers grasp the importance of halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. Since President Lula da Silva took office in January 2023, the government has reinstated conservation programs and environmental agencies, and supported Indigenous rights. As a result, there’s been a 51% decrease in deforestation from the Brazilian Rainforest over the past year, marking the lowest level in five years. The benefits of cutting deforestation are almost endless. New research has found the Caatinga region, where local people are starting the hard work to reforest ravaged areas, is Brazil’s most efficient carbon capture biome.

The economics in all this matter. A recent study in the journal Nature estimates that the costs of environmental damage from a warming world will be six times higher than previously expected. As we know, the cost of nature loss not only increases climate impacts further but has its own economic risks. Over half of Asia Pacific’s economy, US$18 trillion, is directly dependent on nature, so these economies are particularly vulnerable to nature-related risks according to new data from AIGCC and PwC.

In the lead up to International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22 we hope that all global citizens, beyond delegates at international meetings – and driven by more than just financial incentives – will become aware of and intent on achieving the Biodiversity Plan that will set the world on a path to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. Because we can all agree that the cost of losing our global commons is too high, even for the richest people on Earth. That is the beauty of our shared responsibility – and why every single one of us must move from agreement to action, together.

With all our best wishes,
the GCA team, on behalf of Jane

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