COP28 nature day wrap up: WWF responds to key nature, oceans and forests announcements

Posted on December, 09 2023

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (9 December): The theme for the tenth day at COP28 was Nature, Forests and Oceans. Throughout the day a number of announcements were made, with many emphasizing the crucial importance of tackling the climate and nature crises in an integrated way.


Commenting on progress on the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework that was agreed almost a year ago, and the importance of nature day at  COP28:


Kirsten Schuijt, Director General of WWF International, said: “We’ve seen some important progress since the adoption last December of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework but the uncomfortable truth is that the overall pace and scale of action remains too low to match the challenge ahead. At the national level, many countries have started the process of revising their national biodiversity strategies ahead of the next round of UN biodiversity talks in 2024. However, the limited number of revised action plans that have been announced are not sufficiently transformative to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.


“The creation of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund was a critical milestone - what’s needed now is a drastic increase in capital mobilization to promote the tangible implementation of this historic agreement. With nature today’s theme at the UN climate talks, the simple common agenda we need from our leaders is to treat the climate and nature crisis as the one indivisible global emergency - recognizing that prioritizing funding to protect and restore biodiversity is critical to tackling the climate crisis. We urgently need to see finance reaching the communities driving change on the ground - for every moment matters in the future of globally important ecosystems like the Amazon and the Congo rainforest, that humanity cannot afford to lose.”



Commenting on the 30 by 30 announcements at COP28 following today’s Ministerial meeting From Agreement to Action: Harnessing 30×30 to Tackle Climate Change, where China announced that it would join the High Ambition Coalition for People and Nature:


Lucia Ruiz, Conservation Areas Director at WWF-US and WWF global protected and conserved areas lead, said: “COP28 began well with Pacific Islands leadership with the commitment to protect and conserve 30% of the Pacific, utilizing $100m in new funding. China’s announcement today that it has joined the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People is very encouraging. WWF proudly joins the Matchmaking platform, launched today, which will link members of the coalition with partners to help achieve the 30 by 30 target. 


“Many other governments have missed an opportunity to commit and act, and new announcements have been scarce. It is crucial for all countries who agreed the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework to translate its landmark target of conserving 30% of land and oceans by 2030 into ambitious national action. The Global Stocktake shows we are not on track to limit global warming to 1.5oC and that it’s time to step up the pace on action for nature, climate, and people. Action for nature and climate in parallel is essential. Failure to act is existential. All of humanity depends on this effort for sustainability, development, peace, and prosperity.”


Zhou Fei, Chief Program Officer of WWF China, expressed: “WWF applauds this initiative. We believe that China's active participation will significantly contribute to the global goals set by the Coalition. China's accession not only responds positively to the international community's collective efforts on climate change but also contributes significantly to biodiversity. WWF expects global collaboration to achieve a sustainable future by jointly addressing species loss and safeguarding crucial ecosystems for human health and economic security.”




Commenting on the announcement of the COP28 Joint Statement on Climate, Nature and People, launched by the COP28 and COP15 Presidencies and endorsed by 18 countries:

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, CBD Action Agenda Champion for Nature and People, said: “I welcome the announcement of the COP28 Joint Statement on Climate, Nature and People. By bringing together government partnerships and coalitions to coordinate integrated action on climate, biodiversity and land, the initiative has the potential to be a watershed moment in our approach to environmental challenges. I encourage all governments to endorse the Statement while accelerating the uptake of nature-based solutions which can deliver multiple goals.

“We now need to see COP28 do more to bring together action on climate and nature toward the establishment of a dedicated climate-nature work stream.

“Put bluntly, we will not succeed in meeting the goals of either the Paris Agreement or the Global Biodiversity Framework unless we start truly responding to climate change and biodiversity loss as parts of one planetary emergency. With 2030 rapidly approaching, we are running out of time to secure a transition to a nature-positive world and meet our climate goals.”



Commenting on the announcement of government and finance commitments toward the Mangrove Breakthrough goal of protecting and restoring 15 million hectares of mangroves by 2030


Pepe Clarke, WWF Global Oceans Practice Leader, said, “Today’s announcement injects much-needed public and private sector support and finance into the conservation of mangroves. We know that these critical ecosystems provide win-win-win solutions for climate, biodiversity and people. Their protection and restoration generate excellent return on investment, which is why the Mangrove Breakthrough is such a powerful tool to deliver impact at scale. When we properly finance the restoration, protection and sustainable management of ocean ecosystems, we unlock powerful nature-based solutions to address climate change. WWF is delighted to be a partner in this effort and is committed to supporting successful outcomes for people and nature.”  



Commenting on the Ocean Breakthroughs:


Pepe Clarke, WWF Global Oceans Practice Leader, said, “The Ocean Breakthroughs announced at COP28 demonstrate the type of bold ambition we need to leverage the true potential of ocean-climate solutions. The focus on marine conservation, ocean renewable energy, ocean-based transport, aquatic food, and coastal tourism is essential to ensure oceans thrive and contribute to tackling the climate crisis.   We urge countries and the private sector to seize the opportunity presented by the Ocean Breakthroughs to leave business-as-usual in the past, to work and invest differently, and to accelerate actions to protect and restore healthy ocean ecosystems through integrated landscape and seascape approaches. The breakthroughs are well aligned with WWF’s commitment to a fair, nature-positive and net-zero future, and we are eager to support these efforts.” 




Commenting on updates about the delivery of Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use commitments, Fran Price, Leader, Forest Practice, said


“Countries have made some important progress since the 2021 Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use, but not enough. The Forests and Climate Partnership (FCLP) structure delivers funds, capacity and technology to forested countries’ needs and we hope the structure will get stronger and grow over time. The FCLP country packages are a promising start - the process to develop these action plans is country-led, which is important. These countries need to be in the driver’s seat. 


"We want to see more in the country packages that ensures actions are accountable and tracked as well as reporting on the FCLP that enables monitoring on the broader Glasgow Leaders Declaration goals. More needs to still be done to match finance with ambition, particularly finance for high integrity forests. And while the national action plans are positive, there is a long way to go towards meeting the 2030 goals on a global scale. Every year that deforestation rises, it will be harder to meet those goals.


"The new Platform for Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities is welcome but must ensure funding is getting to the right people. 


"At COP26, the leaders of the biggest agricultural commodity companies committed to take action on deforestation in their supply chains to align with a 1.5-degree pathway. There has been progress from individual companies in the soy sector, a signal that corporate leaders recognize the critical role they play in achieving global climate and nature goals, but it is insufficient and progress is uneven. The broader sector has to follow their leadership because sector-wide action is critical for progress at scale.


"The urgency is clear. The world cannot meet global climate targets without forests. The solutions are in hand. We cannot afford inaction anymore.”




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