Speech by President von der Leyen at the pledging event “Countdown to COP15: Landmark Leaders Event for a Nature Positive World”, co-hosted by the EU and other partners, via videomessage

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Biodiversity means human health, food security, and resilience to climate change. Around 66% of wild-life lives on just around 2% of the Earth. We are losing nature and biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. We are squeezing nature into smaller and smaller pockets. And we are paying the price.

The more nature is under threat, the more vulnerable we all become.  Only healthy and diverse forests can store water, carbon and prevent forest fires. Only healthy marine ecosystems can feed our people and help regulate the climate. That is why the world needs to aim high in Montreal for COP15 to adopt an ambitious global deal for nature.

The evidence is overwhelming. But the economic opportunity is equally compelling. The World Economic Forum estimates that over half of the world’s output depends on nature and its services. And by taking better care of nature, we can mitigate and adapt to climate change, often at a very low cost. In fact, every euro spent on restoring damaged ecosystems, can bring us at least eight euros in return.

This is why, since we last met at the Leaders Pledge for Nature, we have put forward the first ever European Nature Restoration Law. And new legislation to make sure our consumption in Europe does not drive deforestation in other parts of the world. Europe is ready to aim high.  But we must do this together.

And for that, I believe we need three key commitments in Montreal. First, an ambitious global framework to stop and reverse biodiversity loss and protect 30% of land and ocean globally. Second, we need measurable goals and targets, supported by a fair monitoring system to keep track of progress. And third, we need to scale up biodiversity financing from all sources: public and private, domestic, and international.

As I announced last year, the EU is doubling its global biodiversity financing, especially for the most vulnerable countries. I encourage all international donors to live up to the same level of ambition.

This will not be easy. But we can do it. I call on all leaders to come together, to adopt an ambitious global deal to protect the biodiversity of our common home.

Let’s have the courage to do what is right.

And let’s do it now.

Thank you.