2020 and 2021 must be Super Years for Nature - Years when the world negotiates and renews its collective commitment to protect nature.
Nature underpins all life on Earth: it provides the oxygen we breathe; the water, food, materials and medicines we need to survive; and the jobs and livelihoods we need to thrive. Nature also provides solutions to help curb ongoing planetary emergencies. Nature-based solutions contribute to climate action and to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems, thus helping prevent future pandemics such as COVID-19.
These are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message: human health is inextricably linked to the planet’s health. Zoonotic infectious diseases like COVID-19 are transmitted between animals and people and research shows that as we degrade the natural world, these diseases are on the rise. To prevent and control future pandemics, we need to take care of nature, so that nature can take care of us.
In a world where 75 per cent of the land surface is now impacted by humans, and the disruption of natural ecosystems is increasing and will become even more frequent-we must act swiftly and with accountability to change this situation. The effects of degraded ecosystems and a changing climate are being felt by all of us but affect, more severely, the most vulnerable of the world’s populations and will have the biggest impact on future generations.
Now, more than ever, nature needs us to pay attention to its warning signals - we cannot wait any longer.
We must revisit the way we produce and consume; rethink the kinds of materials we use in our daily lives and the waste we produce; take care of the people who protect our biodiversity and ecosystems; and ensure the right to a healthy environment for all, including future generations.
Noting that today’s youth and future generations will shoulder many of the long-term economic and social consequences of COVID-19 and the climate crisis, we know that actions today must avoid exacerbating intergenerational inequity, and that youth must be meaningfully involved in ongoing recovery efforts to build more resilient and sustainable societies.
Youth from different social backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, geographies, and languages are uniting as a global and inclusive collective #ForNature.
To remind world leaders and decision-makers that it is time to act #ForNature. Time to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies. Time to listen to science. Time to put nature at the heart of decision-making. Time to prioritize our collective future. Time to be bold, courageous, and visionary; to take transformative actions towards repairing the fabric of life on Earth and our relationship with it.
These are unprecedented times, and we need unprecedented actions.
To all the youth and youth movements around the world, we have a simple request: help us remind global leaders that we need greater commitment, ambition, action and accountability #ForNature now.
We want to amplify youth voices and ensure that your priorities are included in policy making processes that will impact your lives and that of future generations.
We cannot do it alone.
We must rise together and push for transformative change together.
We must create a more equitable and inclusive movement that helps build a greener and more just future for all.
In the form of a Manifesto and Open Letter, we would like to mobilize world leaders to support youth priorities for 2020 and 2021 and the resolutions youth want to see being addressed and adopted in the next decade and beyond to achieve a vision of “living in harmony with nature”.
Accompanied by videos from youth, we intend to present the Open Letter to the UN Secretary-General at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Biodiversity Summit, to drive ambition for nature and biodiversity in the lead up to the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA)-5, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP 15 and Climate Change (UNCCC) COP 26.
It’s time to reimagine our relationship to Nature.
The time for action is now.
It will take an entire global community to rise together. Raise your voice.