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Why nations should step up efforts to secure biodiversity

OPINION
By Vladimir Putin | October 24th 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin during the Russia-Africa Summit in the resort city of Sochi in Russia.

The UN Convention on biological diversity was adopted nearly 30 years ago and is a key universal instrument of international law that unites countries and multilateral organisations in a bid to conserve nature and promote sustainable use of our planet’s resources.

These goals are more relevant than ever before, because we can see how human activities and rapid development of technology, industry and agriculture, unfortunately, often negatively affect the environment and climate. In this regard, I appreciate our Chinese friends and President Xi Jinping for their support to international cooperation in conservation. In turn, we are committed to working together with all stakeholders to preserve our common habitat.

And, of course, we are grateful to our Chinese colleagues and the Secretariat of the Convention for hosting this conference, whose theme is “Ecological Civilisation: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.”

This conference provides an opportunity to exchange views on how to maximise harmonious coexistence of humans and nature, mobilise efforts of the international community to protect biodiversity and promote the sustainable use of natural resources, as well as define goals and modalities of international cooperation. Russia has a unique and abundant supply of natural resources for supporting life on the planet, and biodiversity conservation is an absolute priority for us. We approach it responsibly, consistently and systematically. State institutions, businesses and civil society have partnered on this work. A comprehensive sustainable development strategy is being implemented, whose framework includes significant attention to the environmental agenda, protecting and growing numbers of rare and endangered animals and plants, as well as strengthening protected natural areas.

At the federal level, there are 109 nature reserves, 64 national parks and 62 sanctuaries. In all, over 25 per cent of land in Russia is protected under environmental law. In addition, we will create at least 23 new protected natural areas by 2024.

Protection of rare animal and plant species is guaranteed at the state level. The measures are yielding tangible results. In particular, the populations of Central Asian and Far Eastern leopards, snow leopards, saiga antelopes, polar bears, bison, birds of the falcon family and, of course, the Amur tiger have also grown. We will continue these efforts, including coordination with our foreign partners. Further, we plan to hold the second International Forum on the Conservation of the Tiger in September 2022. This forum will take place as part of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. We look forward to participation of representatives from all countries where these rare predators are found.

The fact that this conference exists clearly shows that nature conservation cannot be successfully addressed by any country alone. This must be taken up by all countries, without exaggeration, by all humankind.

We fully support closer international cooperation on all pressing issues related to protecting flora and fauna, the atmosphere and water resources. This cooperation must be carried out on the basis of generally accepted scientific data, a clearly defined and comprehensive legal framework, and with respect for state sovereignty. Of course, it is important to be mindful of national priorities and the specifics of each country, as well as to focus on the needs of the developing world, including the least developed countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s abridged speech to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

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