The ambitious 10-point pledge endorsed by 64 nations and the EU contains key actions to protect the world’s land and sea, end the illegal wildlife trade, transition to sustainable production and consumption patterns, and include biodiversity and climate in economic and post-pandemic recovery plans.
Born Free’s International Policy Specialist Adeline Lerambert said: “The pledge represents a critical step towards addressing the unprecedented biodiversity, climate and health crises, by demonstrating increased political momentum to address our planetary emergencies. While this leadership is necessary and commendable, it must be immediately backed up by strong binding policies, effective tools and incentives conducive to implementation and investment for nature, and accompanied by accountability mechanisms at both domestic and global levels. Equally, bold actions must be taken to reduce threats to wildlife by tackling corruption and illicit financial flows, eliminating perverse incentives and reforming subsidies that fuel the destruction of biodiversity. Those are among the truly transformative changes urgently required to secure a future in which nature is valued in its own right, and protected to sustain all life on Earth.”
Born Free’s Head of Policy Dr Mark Jones added: “The leaders’ commitment to integrating a “One-Health” approach in all relevant policies and decision-making processes at all levels is very welcome, considering the massive impact that human exploitation of wild animals and their habitats is having on our own health, as well as on wider biodiversity. However, we would urge global leaders to go further, by recognising that it’s not just the health of wild animals that we need to ensure, but also their welfare. The destruction of wildlife habitats and the exploitation of wild animals for trade and consumption in all its forms, places animals under a great deal of stress, which in turn facilitates the development, multiplication and transmission of pathogens with all the potential impacts for both animal and human health.
A ‘One-Welfare’ approach to future policy, which extends the “One Health” approach by promoting the links between animal welfare and human well-being, and the connection to wider environmental integrity, is critical to the successful implementation of the laudable objectives laid out in the leaders’ statement. Safeguarding the welfare of wild animals leads to positive human outcomes, and we need to massively improve our treatment of animals both for their sake and for ours.”
Born Free will be watching with interest, how the leaders’ progress with their pledge.