COP26: One Earth One Future

Statement delivered by Haoliang Xu at the Wilton Park Dialogue “COP26: One Earth One Future,” a session on Building Adaptation and Resilience Through Nature.

February 16, 2021

Excellencies, dear colleagues,

Thank you very much to the organizers for hosting this timely ‘Dialogue on nature and adaptation and resilience’, and for inviting UNDP.

During this Decade of Action, we strongly believe we need to amplify the importance of integrated solutions to address the multiple crises facing us – the crisis of biodiversity loss, degraded ecosystems and landscapes, climate change, and poverty and persistent inequality, all compounded in the last year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know well, more than ever, that the solutions are interlinked - we cannot solve one crisis without addressing another. And, to do so we must begin by ‘working with nature’.

By safeguarding natural ecosystems and harnessing nature-based solutions, we have the opportunity to build a truly sustainable pathway for a climate resilient development. Well-designed, nature-based solutions can deliver multiple benefits – they support climate adaptation and mitigation, and they protect biodiversity and the valuable ecosystem services, on which our humanity depends to survive and prosper.

Scientists tell us that nature can provide us with almost 40% of our climate solution, through forest conservation, restoration and sustainable land management, and through climate smart agriculture. The Global Commission on Adaptation estimates that ecosystem-based adaptation can yield as much as 1 trillion US dollars in net benefits by 2030.  Yet, nature receives only 2% of all climate finance.

UNDP’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative recently estimated that the world invests around 121 billion dollars per year on nature - not a small amount. However, the OECD data show that investments that harm nature are well over US$ 500 billion per year. Clearly there is work to be done, to both invest in nature and reduce negative impacts on nature as a result of economic activities.

With funding from the Adaptation Fund, Global Environment Facility and Green Climate Fund, UNDP has supported governments to restore mangroves and forest, protect land, coastline and marine habitat, while supporting resilient livelihoods for vulnerable communities on the frontlines of climate change. UNDP also works closely with governments to support mainstreaming of adaptation across national and sub-national level policy, planning, and budgeting processes.

Last year, we worked with Paul Allen Family Foundation, Prince Albert the Second of Monaco Foundation, BNP Paribas, Althelia Funds, UN Environment Programme, and UNCDF to establish the new Global Fund for Coral Reefs.

It is urgent that we tie our major global agendas together for nature, climate, COVID-19 recovery, health and poverty reduction. We have the evidence for effectiveness of nature-based solutions.  Now, we must remove the barriers to putting these solutions in place, unlock finance and encourage investments, while ensuring that sustainability do – to ensure that  solutions serve to improve livelihoods, protect biodiversity and chart a pathway to a just transition for sustainable development.

Thank you very much!