Positive change is possible

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

This week I’m at the Villars Institute Summit in Switzerland, where experts and entrepreneurs are addressing the nature and climate crises holistically through systemic change. In the session ‘Preserving Planetary Boundaries’ I’ll be discussing what can be done to avoid crossing the most threatening ecological tipping points in a world of polycrisis. We know that human actions have pushed the global commons beyond the Safe and Just boundaries identified by GCA’s Earth Commission, with devastating impacts on nature, harvests, homes, livelihoods and people’s lives. It is only through transforming our economies so that nature is properly valued, and resources are better used, managed and shared, that we will be able to safeguard the global commons. I look forward to sharing how through collaboration this positive change is not only possible, but is already underway.

Last week, the EU finally voted in favor of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), a landmark law designed to protect human rights, fight the climate crisis and stop businesses exploiting nature. But while the endorsement sets the right direction for corporate accountability in safeguarding the global commons and our human rights, member states including France, Germany and Italy watered the agreement down significantly. With big business so closely entwined in EU decisions, its critical work continues with the wider accountability ecosystem such as GCA’s Accountability Accelerator and Science Based Targets Network, to incentivize and enable companies to play their part – as well as to hold them firmly accountable.

Momentum for protecting and restoring the global commons continues to grow in public consciousness, evidenced this week in the themes of the widely celebrated International Day of ForestsWorld Water Day and World Meteorological Day, which has the theme of “At the Frontline of Climate Action.” The forests day theme of “Forests and Innovation: New Solutions for a Better World” highlights how deforestation can be addressed through technological advancements such as early warning systems, using data for forest restoration, and empowering Indigenous Peoples through land mapping. 

World Water Day calls attention to the urgent and vital need to restore and better manage the water cycle, including the ecosystems which are nature’s sources and sinks in the landscape, as a basis for human health, food production and resilient societies. Inequitable water allocations and use continue to be a major source of environmental degradation, linked with declining economies, conflict and migration. The 2024 theme of “Water for Peace” stresses that when people have unequal access to clean water – currently 2.2 billion people – tensions rise between communities and countries. Conversely, there are encouraging examples of where redistribution and water sharing schemes – based on a collective vision for resilient landscapes and economies – can turn this around and be a means for restoring peace.

From water to wetlands, forests, oceans and our climate, these interconnected natural systems support the well-being of all life on Earth. Helping the world to see through the prism of global commons is a step towards working together to safeguard this shared inheritance. History shows that small groups can trigger abrupt, positive global changes. This is why the Global Commons Alliance exists. The task is enormous. But we know it is possible.

With all my best wishes,


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