New joint statement commits global land managers to address the dual crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss
Date: Friday, November 5, 2021
GLASGOW — The Department of the Interior joined land managers from around the globe today to endorse and commemorate a Protected and Conserved Areas Joint Statement (Joint Statement) on Climate Change and Biodiversity Crisis, submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP26 and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15.
Signatories of the Joint Statement include the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Park Service and other global managers of “Protected and Conserved Areas” bodies. The Joint Statement reflects commitments and actions to address the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. It underscores the important role our public lands, national parks and other conserved areas play in addressing the climate crisis, mitigating climate impacts, and educating the public about the issue.
“Protected and conserved areas are special places that connect all of us to nature and help ensure that our lands and waters will be available for generations to come. Through this Joint Statement, land managers from the United States and around the world are declaring a united commitment to addressing critical needs facing the planet,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Together as an international community of protected areas, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, serve as core sites and landscape partners in biodiversity preservation, promote climate-informed solutions, and share knowledge and inspiration with visitors and stakeholders.”
Today’s statement, coordinated by National Parks UK at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), commits the parties to champion the role of protected and conserved areas in addressing the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, collaborate and exchange knowledge; leverage and build connections with the public and visitors to inspire behavioral change; support the global movement for deploying nature-based solutions at scale; and inspire and enable those working outside Protected and Conserved Areas by linking with initiatives outside our boundaries and sharing our experiences.
The Joint Statement aligns with the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative, which outlines a vision for how the U.S. can work collaboratively to conserve and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife that support and sustain the nation. Both the Joint Statement and the America the Beautiful initiative recognize that the challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change, and inequitable access to the outdoors pose grave risks to nature and people. Tackling these challenges with our global partners demonstrates a commitment to the health, well-being and prosperity of the world.
The Interior Department continues to collaborate internationally to champion the role that protected areas play in leading efforts to support carbon-rich, biodiverse, and resilient landscapes. The Department’s recently released Climate Action Plan outlines how it will integrate climate change adaptation into the Department’s mission, policy, programs, and operations. Many of these actions have been in place for nearly a decade through the sustainability plans of our bureaus, such as the National Park Service Green Parks Plan.
National parks, monuments, refuges, recreation areas and other protected areas around the world are critical elements of a global response to climate change and cornerstones of biodiversity. They provide critical habitat, clean water, migration corridors, and the continuation of natural processes that benefit plant, animal, and human health. A shared and collective response expands the reach of individual countries efforts and increases the impact and benefit.