A groundbreaking conservation initiative, Act30, has been launched at COP28 in Dubai, urging countries worldwide to unite in preserving 30% of the planet’s land and water by 2030.
The initiative, a collaborative effort between the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB), and technology company Esri, aims to address the current gap where only 15% of land and 7.4% of oceans are protected under official laws.
Act30 seeks to support the 190 governments committed to the 30×30 target under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The initiative plans to transform the 30×30 global goal into a national and local reality by partnering with countries to develop conservation roadmaps while respecting Indigenous rights.
Presently, a mere 15% of terrestrial land and 7.4% of oceans enjoy protection under established legal frameworks. There is an urgent imperative to make substantial advancements, enhancing conservation efforts both within and beyond officially designated protected zones, encompassing Indigenous territories.
Act30 is poised to collaborate closely with Indigenous communities, leveraging their expertise in governance, Indigenous conservation methods, and traditional knowledge. This partnership aims to directly involve decision-makers, drawing on the extensive experience of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in supporting nations’ conservation endeavors.
Dr. Grethel Aguilar, Director General of IUCN, emphasized the importance of incorporating Indigenous peoples’ wisdom in decision-making to overcome global challenges.
Dr. Aguilar emphasizes that the Act30 collaboration is positioned to center the wisdom of Indigenous communities in decision-making processes, thereby amplifying crucial conservation measures aimed at safeguarding 30% of the Earth’s lands and seas by 2030.
“We must listen to their voices if we want to overcome the pressing challenges facing Earth,” remarked Dr. Aguilar.
Act30 is strategically crafted to evolve the global 30×30 goal into a tangible national and local reality. Through collaborative partnerships with countries, the initiative aims to formulate comprehensive conservation roadmaps while respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples and their territories.
This commitment is underscored by the formalization of the Podong Initiative, signed in Gland, Switzerland, on August 4, 2023, signifying the dedication of IUCN and IIFB to co-create and co-implement effective solutions.
Leveraging the IUCN Green List Standard, recognized as the global benchmark for quality conservation, and Esri’s cutting-edge geographic mapping tools, Act30 will precisely identify impactful and ecologically representative areas.
This targeted approach seeks to designate 30% of lands and waters for protection, ensuring maximal, long-term benefits for nature, people, and diverse species.
“Act30 represents an unparalleled opportunity to advance inclusive and holistic conservation planning informed by advanced location intelligence,” said David Gadsden, Esri Director of Conservation Solutions.
David highlighted that Esri contributes the world’s most sophisticated mapping and spatial analysis technology to the overarching mission of comprehensive conservation. This integration involves amalgamating the ecological knowledge and guidance provided by Indigenous Peoples with Earth Observation data, all aimed at realizing the 30×30 goal on a global scale.
“Act30 comes at a crucial time for biodiversity conservation. It will be Indigenous peoples, local communities, women and youth who are the real changemakers. If governments work with us, we will make progress in fulfilling the Global Biodiversity Framework target,” Lucy Mulenkei, Co-chair of IIFB, Indigenous Information Network, Kenya, said.
Commencing in early 2024, dialogues with an initial set of fourteen priority countries will be convened to exemplify leadership in adopting best practices for conservation. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a unique union comprising both government and civil society organizations, serves as a pivotal entity providing knowledge and tools to facilitate the coexistence of human progress, economic development, and nature conservation.
Established in 1948, IUCN has evolved into the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, collaborating with over 1,400 member organizations and approximately 15,000 experts.
Functioning as a leading provider of conservation data, assessments, and analysis, IUCN’s extensive membership enables it to serve as an incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools, and international standards. The organization offers a neutral space where various stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, Indigenous peoples’ organizations, and others, can collaboratively devise and implement solutions to environmental challenges, ultimately striving for sustainable development. IUCN actively engages with partners and supporters, executing a broad and diverse portfolio of conservation projects worldwide.
These initiatives, integrating the latest scientific advancements with the traditional knowledge of local communities, aim to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems, and enhance the well-being of people.
On a parallel note, the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) serves as a collective comprising representatives from indigenous governments, indigenous non-governmental organizations, scholars, and activists. Operating within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and other crucial international environmental forums, IIFB plays a pivotal role in coordinating indigenous strategies, offering advice to government parties, and influencing the interpretation of governmental obligations to acknowledge and respect indigenous rights to knowledge and resources.
Concurrently, Esri, a global leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, has been at the forefront since 1969. Leveraging geographic science and geospatial analytics, Esri supports customers in building a sustainable world through the application of science and technology.
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