Born Free, a global leader in wildlife conservation and wild animal welfare, has launched the Global Nature Recovery Investment Initiative (GNRII) aimed at bringing about the transformative changes needed to protect people and wildlife around the globe.
The GNRII aims to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and wildlife overexploitation; deliver enhanced ecosystem viability and services, alongside climate change mitigation; and promote public and animal health, sustainable livelihoods, and food and societal security.
Through this initiative, Born Free is advocating for the adoption of large-scale international and national commitments to:
- Place public health, food and water security, poverty alleviation, biodiversity protection, and healthy ecosystems on an equal standing politically, financially, and socially
- Transform the deployment of global financial resources to fund biodiversity protection at scale
- Halt and reverse biodiversity loss
- Expand and strengthen protected area integrity
- End commercial wildlife exploitation and curb excessive trade
- Develop and deliver alternative livelihoods and food sources for those who currently rely on the exploitation of wild animals and plants for their survival
- Strengthen international and regional wildlife law enforcement
Incorporate animal welfare considerations into nature recovery programmes.
The importance of nature recovery
The initiative promotes actions in the field, combined with international commitments to place nature recovery as a central tenet of negotiations for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and as a key factor in global efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
It is now universally acknowledged that nature is in crisis and that without a swift, bold and high response, we will rapidly reach the point of no return, where natural resources will be so depleted that they will no longer be able to sustain life on Earth.
The wave of anthropogenic destruction is now affecting the resources and ecosystem services on which humans – and all living organisms – depend for their survival, including clean air and water, food resources, carbon sequestration, and climate change mitigation. The impact of this wave of destruction on wildlife species has now reached cataclysmic proportions with more than a million species facing possible extinction.
To combat this crisis, investment in nature must be placed on an equal footing with other global investment priorities such as development, education, social care, and defence. The current situation that sees public and private financing for activities which damage wildlife and biodiversity dwarf spending on nature protection, must be reversed.
Investing in biodiversity protection
“Through the Global Nature Recovery Investment Initiative, Born Free invites all stakeholders to work together to identify and invest in opportunities to mainstream biodiversity protection and thereby deliver on public and animal health priorities,” Will Travers OBE, Executive President and Co-Founder of Born Free, says.
“We must reform, realign and ramp up the way investment in nature is financed to deliver sustainable, healthy, enduring ecosystems and biodiversity for the long term.”
COVID-19, the wildlife-related zoonotic pandemic, is a brutal reminder that all living beings, including humans, share the same potential fate. Fragmentation, degradation, destruction, and loss of functional, natural ecosystems, combined with human activities that bring growing numbers of people into direct contact with wildlife, must be prevented, as a matter of urgency, to protect humans and wild species.
Crucial negotiations, which will have lasting and profound impacts on the future of the life on Earth, are in progress as part of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, created by the international community to define the level of ambition necessary to address these concerns.
By launching the GNRII, Born Free is calling on world leaders to ensure that their response is unequivocal, durable, financially ambitious, and prioritises the recovery of nature for future generations.
Travers concludes: “We, the human species, currently invest trillions of pounds each year in infrastructure, defence, health care, education and many other societal priorities yet we seem unwilling to invest the £500 billion needed annually to secure the natural life-systems upon which we and all life ultimately depend. Some call this wilful neglect, others criminal negligence—but whatever it is, it must stop. We urge countries around the world to aggressively pursue the path to nature recovery now. We can no longer wait until the next catastrophe hits and jeopardises the future of our children and our children’s children.”