Third Eye

Biodiversity conservation is an absolute priority

Friday, October 15th, 2021 00:00 | By
United Nations. Photo/Courtesy

Vladimir Putin       

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted almost 30 years ago and it remains a key universal instrument of international law that unites countries and multilateral organisations in efforts to conserve nature and promote the sustainable use of planet’s resources.

The goals are more relevant now than ever, because we can see how human activities and the rapid development of technology, industry and agriculture, unfortunately, often negatively affect the environment and climate.

In this regard, I would like to express my gratitude to our Chinese friends and personally to President Xi Jinping for support of efforts to step up international cooperation in conservation. In turn, we are committed to working with all stakeholders to preserve our common habitat.

We are grateful to China and the Secretariat of the Convention for hosting this meeting, themed “Ecological Civilisation: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.”

The conference provides an opportunity to exchange views on how to maximise the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature, to most effectively mobilise efforts of the international community to protect biodiversity and to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and define the goals and modalities of international cooperation in these areas.

I take this opportunity to point out that Russia has a unique and abundant supply of natural resources for supporting life on the planet, and biodiversity conservation is an absolute priority for us.

We try to approach it responsibly, consistently and systematically. Moreover, State institutions, businesses and civil society have partnered on this work.

We are implementing a comprehensive sustainable development strategy, whose framework includes significant attention to the environmental agenda, protecting and growing the numbers of rare and endangered animals and plants, as well as further strengthening specially protected natural areas. 

At the federal level alone, there are 109 nature reserves, 64 national parks and 62 sanctuaries. In all, including regional and local specially protected natural areas and other forms of protection, over 25 per cent of land in Russia is protected under environmental law, which, believe me, is truly vast. We are going to create at least 23 new protected natural areas by 2024.

Protection of rare animal and plant species is guaranteed at the state level. The measures taken to this end are yielding tangible results.

In particular, the populations of Central Asian and Far Eastern leopards, snow leopards, saiga antelopes, polar bears, bison, birds of the falcon family and the Amur tiger have also grown. We will continue the efforts in coordination with foreign partners.

In this context, we plan to hold the Second International Forum on the Conservation of the Tiger Population in September.

The forum will take place as part of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. We look forward to the participation of representatives from all countries where the rare predators are found.

I would be remiss not to mention that, thanks to the tremendous absorptive capacity of our forests, Russia is making a major contribution to addressing global environmental and climate problems and helping to preserve biodiversity.

As you may be aware, Russia accounts for 20 per cent of the world’s forest reserves. And we will continue to improve the quality of forest management and take additional steps to combat wildfires and restore forests. 

The very fact that this conference exists clearly shows nature conservation can’t be successfully addressed by any country alone. This must be taken up by all countries, without exaggeration, by all humankind.

We support the idea of pursuing closer international cooperation on all pressing issues related to protecting flora and fauna, the atmosphere and water resources.

The cooperation must be carried out on the basis of generally accepted scientific data, a clearly defined and comprehensive legal framework, and with respect for State sovereignty over natural resources and economic activities.

Of course, it is important to be mindful of national priorities and the specifics of each country, as well as to focus on the needs of the developing world, including the least developed.

The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is being negotiated. Russian experts are taking part.

We want the programme to include specific ideas and proposals regarding biodiversity protection and to help restore global environmental balance.

I express confidence this meeting will be productive and effective and promote constructive cooperation between the participating countries.  — This is President of Russia’s address to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity on Tuesday, October 12

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