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As World observes International Biodiversity Day CARICOM calls for action to address biodiversity loss

Assistant Secretary-General for Human and Social Development, Dr Douglas Slater has called for actions to foster more ecosystem-based solutions to address biodiversity loss, climate change and land degradation simultaneously.

As CARICOM joined the global Community in celebrating International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22nd, Dr Slater reiterated the need for mainstreaming biodiversity in economic sectors; and working together at all levels to build a future in harmony with nature.

The CARICOM Secretariat launched this year’s observation with a webinar titled: The way forward for the Caribbean in Shaping the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

The Forum on May 19 launched a series of other virtual engagements with biodiversity focal points, negotiators, technical officers and policy advisers as the Region prepares for the 2020 Meeting of Conference of Parties for the Framework Convention on Biodiversity.  The May 19th event featured presentations by agriculture and biodiversity expert Dr. Patrick Chesney; environment and biodiversity expert, Dr Thérèse Yarde, and Grenada’s Ambassador and Special Envoy for Multilateral Environmental Agreements Dr. Spencer Thomas.

Dr Slater said while the Community has been fully engaged in the COVID-19 response, it was necessary to observe International Day for Biological Diversity to mobilize political will and resources. It is also necessary to increase awareness and understanding of biodiversity issues.

He said the CARICOM Secretariat, along with partner organizations including the OECS Commission and UN Environment, view this year’s observation as an optimal opportunity to promote the need for urgency of action at the highest levels, in support of a post-2020 biodiversity framework that will contribute to the re-shaping of the Caribbean region’s vision for biodiversity.

The 2020 International Day for Biological Diversity is being observed under the theme “Our solutions are in nature.”

“It is therefore timely as a Community that we re-examine our relationship with nature recognizing that, despite all our economic and technological advances we will always remain dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy. We therefore add our voices to Calls for Action that include more ecosystem-based solutions for addressing biodiversity loss, climate change and land degradation simultaneously; for mainstreaming biodiversity in economic sectors; and working together at all levels to build a future in harmony with nature,” Dr Slater said as he addressed participants in the Webinar.

Reflecting on the activities that were earmarked for 2020 deemed as ‘the year for biodiversity’, he highlighted efforts to advance a new global framework to safeguard all life on earth by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity planned to negotiate. 

Another watershed event is a High-Level Summit on Biodiversity to be convened during the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

These activities are expected to bring countries and people together to find solutions to the ecological crises that are threatening human well-being, Dr Slater noted.

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