WWF calls for a New Deal for Nature and People at the Fourth UN Environmental Assembly

Posted on March, 11 2019

Nairobi, Kenya 11 March 2019 - As global environment leaders gather at the Fourth UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA-4) this week, they have an unmissable opportunity to put in place plans to reverse the loss of nature by 2030.

It is clear we are failing to address nature loss; Biodiversity continues to decline, with devastating consequences. Global wildlife populations have declined on average by 60 per cent in the past 40 years. This is a warning sign that nature is in a state of emergency. Each year, around US$125 trillion worth of ecosystem services are provided to the global economy. Urgent, decisive, global action to bend the curve on devastating nature loss is needed to secure the future for the planet and people.


With negotiations entering the second week and a crucial phase at UNEA-4. WWF has major concerns about the lack of ambition and limited progress by countries.


Global efforts to reverse nature loss have lacked urgency, political commitment and effective delivery so far. Protecting and restoring nature and biodiversity is fundamental to our health, well-being, economies, and continued and growing prosperity around the world.


“Climate, nature and sustainable development are intrinsically linked. To accelerate progress on achieving global goals set by world leaders, restoring nature must be a priority. The coming week presents an opportunity for ministers to show the world that they are committed to addressing the nature crisis we are facing. We need the world to come together for an ambitious, science-based New Deal for Nature and People by 2020 to pull our planet back from the brink of decline and reverse the catastrophic loss of nature. The science could not be clearer, human activity is pushing the planet and the Earth systems that we depend on to the edge. Urgent action is required if we are to secure a prosperous future for humanity,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International


WWF is calling for strong commitments by Heads of State in 2020 to strengthen global targets and mechanisms that will reverse the loss of nature by 2030. To do so, governments, businesses and civil society need to work together and raise their ambition for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.


WWF urges Ministers, that are making critical decisions, at the UNEA-4 to strengthen their commitments, in the following areas:


Plastics: Agree on a mandate and a process for reaching a global, legally binding agreement on marine plastics pollution to address the failure of our global system that produces, uses and disposes of plastic, resulting in millions of tons of plastic pollution on land and in rivers, lakes and oceans each year. This instrument is vital in holding every nation accountable to deliver the changes needed to halt plastic leakage into our oceans by 2030.


Food: Ensure sustainable consumption, production and food security for all through integrated policies on agriculture and food systems.


Forests: Enhance collaboration and strong policy measures to eliminate deforestation and ecosystem conversion and degradation from agricultural commodity supply chains.


Biodiversity: Propose an ambitious Heads of State declaration on Nature; strong post-2020 global biodiversity framework agreed under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) with an enhanced implementation mechanism; and show leadership for the nature-related sustainable development goals, ensuring that nature rises up the international political agenda.


Sustainable Development Goals: With only one year to go until the environmental targets of the SDGs mature, Ministers need to propose a clear way forward to maintain the integrity and ambition of the environmental targets of the SDGs, and ensure commitment to align the SDG targets, which mature in 2020, with the new post-2020 global biodiversity framework.



The UNEA is the world’s highest level decision-making body on environmental issues. UNEA-4 provides an opportunity to strengthen international policies to address the threat of  catastrophic biodiversity loss.


Citizens around the world are taking notice and calling for global action on plastics pollution, climate change and nature loss. Governments have the opportunity to act, before it’s too late  - there will not be a just and prosperous future for all on a depleted planet.