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‘We must change’ say Cambridge delegates at biodiversity COP





Cambridge delegates at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada, have made progress – while urging the conference to “start to change our relationship to nature”.

Biodiversity starts – and could end – with bees
Biodiversity starts – and could end – with bees

The University of Cambridge signed a nature positive pledge as a founding member of the global Nature Positive Universities network formed in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Nature Positive Universities Alliance launched at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada, on December 8 with 111 universities from 44 countries, who have made individual pledges to start a journey towards becoming nature-positive.

The pledge strongly aligns with Cambridge’s Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) agreed by the university’s council in July 2020. The commitment is to start a nature-positive journey by determining baselines and setting targets.

Professor Chris Sandbrook, professor of conservation and society, and director of the Masters in Conservation Leadership, said: “Joining the Nature Positive University Network will inspire us to be more ambitious, enable us to learn from others, and hold us to account.”

Chris Sandbrook, left, director of the Masters in Conservation Leadership and Cambridge Conservation Initiative council member, in Montreal. Picture: Adrian J King
Chris Sandbrook, left, director of the Masters in Conservation Leadership and Cambridge Conservation Initiative council member, in Montreal. Picture: Adrian J King

Meanwhile, members of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) have called for more urgency to be injected into the myriad issues the natural world faces.

Eliot Whittington, director of policy, CISL, said: “We are seeing a growing level of public concern about the destruction of nature alongside a worsening climate crisis.

“We know we need to change how we relate to natural systems and start to protect and restore the biodiversity that provides resilience, variety and strength to those systems. COP15 needs to mark that change – it has the potential to be the moment we collectively start to change our relationship to nature and it is essential we reach that potential.”

And Grant Rudgley, sustainable finance specialist, CISL, said: “Our economic system needs to realise it is part of nature. Governments spend trillions every year subsidising nature’s destruction, from timber-access roads to fertiliser discounts. Such subsidies must be phased out and redirected. Meanwhile, private sector leaders must join calls to make it mandatory that business and finance are transparent about their impact and dependence on nature.

“COP15 offers an historic opportunity to restore and protect nature: our planet’s – and our – life support system.”



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