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More than 50 countries commit to protection of 30% of Earth’s land and oceans

More than 50 countries commit to protection of 30% of Earth's land and oceans

Coalition says promise is key to preventing mass extinctions and ensuring clean air and water

A coalition of more than 50 countries has committed to protect almost a third of the planet by 2030 to halt the destruction of the natural world and slow extinctions of wildlife.

The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, which includes the UK and countries from six continents, made the pledge to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans before the One Planet summit in Paris on Monday, hosted by the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

Scientists have said human activities are driving the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth, and agricultural production, mining and pollution are threatening the healthy functioning of life-sustaining ecosystems crucial to human civilisation.

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In the announcement, the HAC said protecting at least 30% of the planet for nature by the end of the decade was crucial to preventing mass extinctions of plants and animals, and ensuring the natural production of clean air and water.

The commitment is likely to be the headline target of the “Paris agreement for nature” that will be negotiated at Cop15 in Kunming, China later this year. The HAC said it hoped early commitments from countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Pakistan, Japan and Canada would ensure it formed the basis of the UN agreement.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, welcomed the pledge but cautioned: “It is one thing to commit, but quite different to deliver. But when we have committed, we must deliver. And with concerted efforts, we can collectively deliver.”

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